Drunk driving charges carry severe risks in Pennsylvania—and if you don’t take your case seriously, you could face consequences for years to come. Protecting yourself starts with making smart decisions, and this means that you need to rely on the advice of an experienced DUI defense attorney.
But, even when you work with an attorney, it helps to have at least a basic understanding of your case. We published several articles on DUI-related topics throughout 2023, and we encourage you to read these articles so that you know what to expect as your DUI case moves forward:
Understanding Your Pennsylvania DUI Charge
Pennsylvania’s DUI laws are unique in that they establish three different basic drunk driving offenses. If you are facing a DUI, you need to know which specific charge you are facing—because each one presents different considerations and risks.
With a “general impairment” DUI, prosecutors can secure a conviction based on your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) or based on other evidence that you were “rendered incapable of safely driving.” For more information, you can read: What Are the Different DUI Levels in Pennsylvania?
7 Factors that Can Increase the Penalties for a DUI
While facing a DUI charge is always serious, several factors can increase the penalties for a DUI in Pennsylvania. These include factors both related and unrelated to your drunk driving arrest. If you are facing additional fines; additional jail time; or consequences related to your job, education, or military service, it will be even more important for you to work with an experienced DUI defense lawyer. Learn more: 7 Factors that Can Increase the Penalties for a DUI in Pennsylvania.
7 Ways to Reduce the Costs of a DUI
While several factors can increase the penalties for a DUI, there are also several steps you can take to reduce the costs of your drunk driving arrest. While there are no guarantees, the more you do to protect yourself, the more likely you are to secure a favorable result.
Additionally, depending on the circumstances of your case (i.e., if you are a first-time offender), you may have options for reducing your charge or avoiding a conviction entirely. To learn about the steps you should be taking and the options you may have available, you can read: 7 Ways to Reduce the Costs of a DUI in Pennsylvania.
What if You Admitted to Driving Drunk?
Let’s say you got pulled over, and on the side of the road you admitted to driving drunk. If you told your arresting officer that you were too drunk to drive, what does this mean for your DUI defense?
The short answer is, “It depends.” While prosecutors may be able to use your admission against you, there are still several potential ways to defend against a DUI charge in this scenario. It will be important to find out what other evidence prosecutors have available, and then you will be able to make informed decisions about how best to approach your defense. Learn more: What are Your Options if You Admitted to Driving Drunk in Pennsylvania?
What if You Refused the Breath Test?
Now, let’s consider the opposite scenario. Not only did you avoid admitting to driving drunk during your DUI stop, but you also refused to take the breathalyzer. If prosecutors can’t use your words or your BAC against you, can they still secure a conviction?
In a word, “Yes.” As we mentioned above, prosecutors can prove a “general impairment” DUI based on your BAC or your inability to drive safely. Refusing the breathalyzer can also lead to additional consequences under Pennsylvania’s implied consent law. Even so, you have options available, and an experienced attorney will be able to use these defenses to protect you to the fullest extent possible. Learn more: Can Prosecutors Prove DUI Without a BAC in Pennsylvania?
What if You Caused an Accident While Driving Drunk?
Causing an accident while driving drunk is one of the factors that can increase the penalties for a DUI in Pennsylvania. It can lead to felony charges in some cases. If you are being accused of causing an accident while driving under the influence, here’s what you need to know: What Happens if You Cause an Accident While Driving Under the Influence in Pennsylvania?
Will Dash Camera Footage Help or Hurt Your Defense?
The police in Pennsylvania use dash cameras to record drunk driving suspects and document their traffic stops. If prosecutors have footage of you driving dangerously or stumbling during the field sobriety tests, they may be able to use this footage against you.
But, you may be able to use the police’s dash camera footage to your advantage as well. To learn how read: How Can Dash Camera Footage Help (or Hurt) Your Defense in a Pennsylvania DUI Case?
How Hard is It to Fight a DUI in Pennsylvania?
If you are facing a DUI charge in Pennsylvania, is it worth fighting? Or, should you accept the consequences and move on? When facing a DUI, you need to fight, and you need to do so by all means available. Learn more: How Hard Is It to Fight a DUI Charge in Pennsylvania?
7 Reasons to Hire a DUI Defense Lawyer
One of the most essential steps for fighting your DUI is hiring an experienced lawyer to represent you. With everything that you have at risk, you do not want to try to handle your situation on your own. For more information about why you should hire a defense lawyer, you can read: 7 Reasons to Hire a DUI Defense Lawyer Even if You Were Driving Drunk.
Getting Started with Your Legal Representation
While it is crucial to hire a defense lawyer promptly, it is also essential to make an informed decision about your legal representation. This decision could impact your life for years to come. How do you choose the right lawyer to represent you? Here are some questions you can ask during your initial consultation: What Questions Can (and Should) You Ask During Your Initial Consultation with a Pennsylvania Criminal Defense Lawyer?
Contact Us for a Free DUI Defense Consultation in Philadelphia, PA
Philadelphia DUI defense attorney Brian Fishman has extensive experience representing clients in drunk driving cases. If you need help fighting a DUI in Pennsylvania, you can call 267-758-2228 or contact us online to get started with a free initial consultation.