Pennsylvania DUI / DAI LAW

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Pennsylvania DUI video transcription

Pennsylvania DUI arrests can result in two cases. One is with the court, which determines the appropriate punishment for your arrest, and the other is with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation or PennDot to attempt to take away your license. That’s why it’s important if you’ve been arrested in Pennsylvania to contact an attorney right away to protect your rights.

Pennsylvania DUI / DAI cases may be referred to as drunk driving, driving under the influence (DUI), driving while impaired (DWI) or the new driving after imbibing (DAI). However, if you or someone you care about has been charged with any type of drinking and driving crime in Pennsylvania, you need the help of a Pennsylvania lawyer that concentrates on DUI and DAI defense.

Drunk driving defense is a specialized area. Let one of the qualified DUI LAWS attorneys find a solution to your legal problem if you, or someone you care about, has been arrested for DUI or DAI. Contact a Pennsylvania DUI LAWS lawyer near you for a free consultation by calling 1.800.DUI.LAWS.

A Pennsylvania DUI / DAI arrest will trigger two cases: the court case, with a variety of potential consequences, including jail, fines, mandatory alcohol education programs, loss of driving privileges, and more; and the driver's license case where the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDot) will seek to take away the driver's license in a separate action.

Pennsylvania is one of a few states that has a "per se" law related to driving under the influence of drugs (DUI Drugs). This means that if a Pennsylvania DUI / DAI arrestee has any measurable amount of specified drugs in their system, they will be punished as if they were at the highest alcohol levels.

Punishment in Pennsylvania drunk driving (DUI) and driving after imbibing (DAI) cases is a function of the alcohol level. Pennsylvania DUI / DAI law has a three-tiered system: one DUI punishment for those who drive with a blood alcohol content of .08 to .099%, another set of DUI punishments for blood alcohol levels from .10 to .159%, and the harshest DUI punishment for those who drive with blood alcohol levels of .16% or higher. Various alcohol levels have been linked to increasing levels of risk-taking or impaired behavior.

Laws in Pennsylvania (effective February 1, 2004), provide for different punishment levels for first, second, third and fourth-offense DUI's and DAI's, which vary depending on alcohol content. Also, Pennsylvania formerly had a legal limit of .10%, which has now been reduced to .08, creating a new class of DUI / DAI offenses. CLICK HERE to view a chart that compares the old law and new law for Pennsylvania DUI / DAI cases.

Pennsylvania does allow for jury trials, but not on "ungraded misdemeanors." This means that you are not allowed a jury trial on a Pennsylvania DUI / DAI case unless it is a second offense DUI / DAI with a BAC of .16% or higher (or a refusal), or a third offense DUI or DAI.

Prior DUI / DAI offenses, for purposes of Pennsylvania's multiple offender law, are calculated as occurring within a 10-year period.

PennDot Case

Pennsylvania DUI and driving after imbibing (DAI) arrests also trigger an administrative driver's license suspension of one year per conviction, but only if the driver refuses a chemical test. This sanction is separate and apart from any consequences imposed by the court; this is an administrative action that is taken by the Department of Transportation pursuant to Pennsylvania's implied consent laws.

Implied consent warnings are only to inform the operator of the requirement to take a test of breath, blood, or urine. The operator has the ability to refuse, however, this refusal will result in a one year loss of operating privileges. This action may be appealed directly to a civil trial, but appeal must be filed and served within 30 days of operator's notice from Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. If appeal is unsuccessful at the Common Pleas level, operator may appeal to Commonwealth Court.

An operator is under an affirmative duty to forward the actual license and/or affidavit (DL-16 Form) to assure acknowledgment. Failure to comply with this duty shall result in non-credited suspension time by Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDot).

Under Pennsylvania Law, any person who holds an operator's license within Pennsylvania, and is in actual physical control of the movement of a motor vehicle shall be deemed to have given implied consent to one or more chemical tests of breath, blood, or urine, if an officer has reasonable grounds to believe the person had been driving, operating or was in actual physical control of the movement of a motor vehicle while impaired. If a driver refuses, he/she will have their license suspended for 12 months and 3 days mandatory incarceration. If they are subsequently convicted of the D.U.I. or D.A.I. charge, the suspension will be in addition to the suspension for the D.U.I. or D.A.I. conviction. A person is not entitled to have an attorney present for this particular test.

Please note, that a license refusal is a civil matter, resulting in license suspension only, not incarceration. However, if caught operating a motor vehicle while under suspension, there will be a 60-day mandatory incarceration, $500.00 fine, and an additional one year suspension.

Please note: Laws change frequently and thus the information provided should not be relied upon as legal advice. To be certain, contact a criminal defense attorney for a legal assistance. is not liable for any misinformation that users obtain from using this site.


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