For many people, a criminal charge for Driving Under the Influence (DUI) is their first and only encounter with the law. But the penalties associated with a Pennsylvania drunk driving charge can change your life. An experienced DUI defense attorney at The Kulick Law Firm, LLC will defend you and minimize the impact of a DUI charge. We will provide legal advice, represent you in court, and defend your rights.
Pennsylvania recognizes three levels of impairment for a DUI charge.
A person can also be charged with a Pennsylvania DUI if they have any amount of a Schedule I substance or a Schedule II or Schedule III substance that has not been medically prescribed to the individual while they drive, operate, or are in actual physical control of a vehicle.
If you refuse a chemical test, you face a 12-month suspension of your driver’s license and a $500 fine for a first offense. For a second offense, you face an 18-month suspension and a fine of up to $1,000. For a third offense, your driver’s license can be suspended for 18 months, and you will receive a fine of up to $2,000.
A first-time Pennsylvania DUI conviction can result in severe penalties, including:
A second DUI offense can result in:
For a third offense you face:
A DUI conviction can also result in collateral consequences such as increased insurance rates, community service requirements, suspension of your driver’s license, and effects on your employment, professional licensing, health insurance, and ability to travel.
If you hold a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL), the penalties for DUI conviction are particularly severe and could effectively end your driving career.
In Pennsylvania, a CDL holder can be charged with DUI if their alcohol content is .04% or higher, or .02% within 2 hours after they have driven, operated, or been in physical control of a school bus or other school vehicle. Your driver’s license will be automatically suspended for 12 months, you face fines from $500 to $5,000, and you could spend between 2 days and 6 months in jail. These penalties apply even if you were not driving a commercial vehicle at the time of the alleged offense.
If you are facing Pennsylvania DUI charges, you need skilled and experienced legal representation.
At The Kulick Law Firm, our DUI defense attorney team takes a practical and straightforward approach to DUI defense.
We will investigate the circumstances of your arrest by asking questions and conducting an independent evaluation of your situation. Then we will prepare a legal defense strategy to challenge the evidence the prosecution will present to try to convict you. We will negotiate for a favorable plea bargain, and file motions to suppress evidence and have the case dismissed. If necessary, we will represent you at trial.
A fundamental question in any criminal case is whether the officer had probable cause to believe you committed a crime. If the officer lacked probable cause to initiate a traffic stop, any evidence obtained after the initial stop should not be considered.
Probable cause to initiate a traffic stop can include:
Any of these minor infractions are violations of the law that a police officer can use to justify a traffic stop. Once you have been stopped, the officer evaluates you for signs of intoxication. If they believe you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they can ask you to perform Field Sobriety Tests, submit to a chemical test, and arrest you on suspicion of DUI.
If the officer believes you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they can ask you to perform Field Sobriety Tests (FSTs). These tests are to be conducted according to national standards and include a combination of:
Your lawyer can challenge the manner and conditions under which the FSTs were conducted and seek to have them excluded as evidence of your alleged intoxication.
The most important piece of evidence in any DUI case is your Blood Alcohol Content. The most common way to test a driver’s BAC is through a breath test, which is almost always followed by a blood draw. Police can also use a urine sample to test a driver’s BAC, but this method is the least reliable.
You are not required to submit to a BAC test. But refusing to submit to the test will result in a 1-year driver’s license suspension.
Our lawyers can seek to have the results of the BAC test excluded by challenging:
You can also be charged with DUI in Pennsylvania if you are under the influence of recreational or prescription drugs.
Just like the limits for alcohol concentration, Pennsylvania’s DUI statute identifies specific limits for different types of recreational drugs. If these drugs are in your blood or urine in an amount greater than the legal limit, you can be charged with and convicted of DUI.
A breath test only tests for alcohol. It does not test for the presence of controlled substances. If the police believe you were under the influence of drugs, they will perform a blood or urine test, or simply rely on their observations and whether you appeared to be under the influence of drugs.
Successfully defending against a Pennsylvania DUI charge is complicated. Let the DUI defense attorney team at The Kulick Law Firm help.
From our offices in Exeter, we represent people throughout northeastern Pennsylvania, including Luzerne and Lackawanna counties. Our clients are hard-working people who need help navigating the legal system. We help by offering sound legal advice and aggressive criminal defense representation consistent with the highest ethical standards.
If you have been charged with a DUI, The Kulick Law Firm can help. Each member of our DUI Defense attorney team has over ten years of experience handling all manner of criminal cases. Learn why clients choose us by reading testimonials from other people we’ve helped. Get answers to Frequently Asked Questions. Then contact us today to schedule a confidential consultation to discuss your situation.