When facing a DUI charge in Philadelphia, you need to make smart decisions. You need to avoid costly (and potentially irreversible) mistakes, and you need to be confident that you are acting with your long term best interests in mind.
Making smart decisions requires a clear understanding of Pennsylvania’s DUI laws and how they apply to your individual circumstances. These FAQ answers provide an introduction to what you need to know. Once you read these FAQ answers, we strongly encourage you to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case with Philadelphia DUI lawyer Brian Fishman in confidence.
What Happens When You Get a DUI in Philadelphia?
Answer: When you get arrested for DUI in Philadelphia, a lot will happen within a relatively short period of time. You need to make sure you are prepared, and you need to know how to protect yourself while your case is pending.
There are several steps between a DUI arrest and a DUI trial. While your trial may be months away, your preliminary hearing (or “arraignment”) will be scheduled much sooner, and you will need to work with your DUI lawyer well in advance of your trial to gather evidence, evaluate potential defense strategies, and decide whether to pursue a plea deal or the Accelerated Rehabilitation Disposition (ARD) Program.
How Many Points Do You Get for a DUI in Pennsylvania?
Answer: Since DUI is a criminal offense (not a traffic violation) in Pennsylvania, you don’t get points on your record. Instead, you face other consequences.
Many people are surprised to learn that a DUI conviction does not put points on their driving record. However, this isn’t exactly good news.
The reason why you don’t get points for a DUI is that Pennsylvania categorizes drunk driving as a criminal offense rather than a traffic violation. So, while you won’t get points for a DUI, you can lose your driver’s license automatically, and you can face jail time, fines, and other penalties as well.
Do You Go to Jail for a DUI in Pennsylvania?
Answer: Unless you are a first-time offender and your BAC was below 0.10 percent, jail time is a risk any time you get arrested for DUI in Pennsylvania.
In Pennsylvania, there are two main factors that determine the possible jail sentence for a DUI: (i) your blood alcohol concentration (BAC), and (ii) your criminal history. If you are a first-time offender and your BAC was below 0.10 percent, then jail time isn’t on the table. However, if your BAC was 0.10 percent or above (and you are a first-time offender), you could be facing two days to six months in jail. If you already have a DUI on your record, you are facing a mandatory minimum jail sentence regardless of your BAC.
Do You Lose Your Driver’s License for a DUI in Pennsylvania?
Answer: When you get arrested for DUI in Pennsylvania, you face an automatic driver’s license suspension. The duration of your suspension depends on your individual circumstances.
All DUI charges carry an automatic driver’s license suspension in Pennsylvania. Refusing the breathalyzer triggers an automatic driver’s license suspension as well. Most first-time offenders are at risk for losing their driving privileges for 12 months, though driver’s license suspensions can be longer or shorter in some cases.
What are the Penalties for a First-Time DUI in Pennsylvania?
Answer: Along with the possibility of going to jail and losing your driving privileges, a DUI conviction can lead to fines, insurance surcharges, and a variety of other consequences.
Getting convicted of DUI in Philadelphia can impact your life in many ways. Even if you are able to avoid jail time and minimize the length of your driver’s license suspension, you could still face substantial fines, insurance surcharges, and other financial penalties. A DUI conviction can have various collateral consequences as well.
How Long Does a DUI Stay on Your Criminal Record in Pennsylvania?
Answer: In Pennsylvania, a DUI conviction stays on your criminal record indefinitely.
Once you have a DUI on your record, it stays on your record indefinitely. The one major exception is if you enter into (and successfully complete) Pennsylvania’s ARD Program, in which case your DUI may be expunged automatically. Otherwise, you will need to file for expungement once you become eligible to do so—typically after five years with no subsequent arrests.
How Long Does a DUI Affect Your Auto Insurance Premiums in Pennsylvania?
Answer: Most insurance companies will penalize you for at least three years when you get convicted of driving under the influence.
If you get convicted of DUI (or plead guilty to DUI) in Philadelphia, you can expect this to affect your insurance rates for at least three years. Some insurance companies penalize drivers for longer.
How Do You Beat a DUI in Philadelphia?
Answer: There are several potential ways to beat a DUI in Philadelphia. However, the defenses you can assert depend entirely on the unique facts of your case.
From showing that the police violated your rights to showing that prosecutors don’t have the evidence they need to convict you, there are several ways to fight a DUI charge under Pennsylvania law. With that said, the defenses your lawyer will be able to use to protect you will depend on the specific facts and circumstances of your case.
Do I Need to Hire a Philadelphia DUI Lawyer?
Answer: Due to the challenges of successfully fighting a DUI and all that you have at stake, you need to put an experienced Philadelphia DUI lawyer in your corner.
To ensure that you make the right decisions and avoid mistakes that could jeopardize your defense, you need to rely on the advice and representation of an experienced Philadelphia DUI lawyer. With all that you have at stake—and all that can go wrong—you cannot afford to risk trying to handle your situation on your own.
Schedule a Free Consultation with Philadelphia DUI Lawyer Brian Fishman
If you are facing a DUI in Philadelphia, we strongly encourage you to contact us to discuss the details of your case in confidence. To speak with Philadelphia DUI lawyer Brian Fishman in confidence as soon as possible, call 267-758-2228 or request a free consultation online now.