If you’ve been arrested for driving under the influence in Pennsylvania, the consequences can not only take a toll on your mental health, finances, social life, and job—you may also have to endure court appearances, fines, and a suspension or revocation of your license. That’s why it’s imperative that you understand Pennsylvania law and the rules and regulations that surround DUI arrests.
Perhaps the most dreaded penalty among offenders after a DUI is the loss of driving privileges. If a license suspension is issued, offenders must continue to operate their daily lives without the ability to drive, which is an inconvenience for just about everyone. Fortunately, a skilled Pennsylvania DUI attorney can help you build an aggressive drunk driving defense strategy designed to protect your driver’s license, your rights, and your freedom.
Pennsylvania DUI Laws
If a police officer pulls you over and suspects that you’re driving under the influence, they’ll likely ask you to complete a series of field sobriety tests. Your performance on these tests may be a factor in whether you’ll be arrested. If the officer can establish probable cause that you were driving under the influence, you’ll be detained, processed, and asked to submit to a blood alcohol content test. Because Pennsylvania has an implied consent law, you’re required to submit to blood alcohol concentration testing when you’ve been taken into custody on suspicions of drunk driving.
In addition to any probation, incarceration, or fines, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation may also impose the following driver’s license sanctions, depending on your blood alcohol content at the time of your arrest:
- BAC below .10%: No license suspension for your first offense; a 12-month suspension for a second or subsequent DUI
- BAC of .10% or higher: A 12-month license suspension for your first offense; an 18-month suspension for a second or subsequent DUI
- Refusal to take a blood test: A 12-month license suspension for your first offense; an 18-month suspension for a second or subsequent DUI
It is important to understand the process of reinstating your driving privileges because drivers are only allowed 30 days to request a license suspension hearing. It’s at this hearing that you and your attorney can make a case as to why you should retain your driving privileges. To petition for a hearing, drivers must file an appeal with the Civil Trials Division of the Court of Common Pleas in the county in which the refusal occurred. The appeals process will require forms and a filing fee, much like a criminal court.
Keeping Your License After a Pennsylvania DUI
In the state of Pennsylvania, the license suspension penalties associated with a DUI depend largely on each defendant’s individual case. While it’s possible that you won’t be able to drive at all until your suspension has lifted, there are certain programs provided by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania that offer exceptions. A credible DUI lawyer can help you fight for these alternatives. They include the following:
Ignition Interlock Devices
In certain cases, a person convicted of a DUI may be eligible to have an ignition interlock device (IID) installed in their vehicle. An ignition interlock system is a device that is installed on motor vehicles to prohibit an individual under the influence of alcohol from operating the vehicle. An individual is required to blow into the device before starting the vehicle, and if the device detects alcohol, it will prevent the vehicle from starting. While using an IID, the device may signal you to blow into it at random times throughout your journey to ensure you remain sober.
If this is your first DUI offense, you may be eligible for an occupational limited license (OLL) after serving 60 days of suspension. This allows you to drive to work, school, medical appointments, and other necessary travel sanctioned by the court. If your license is suspended for 18 months, you may be eligible for an OLL, but only after serving 12 months of suspension and with an IID.
Some drivers may need to drive their employer’s vehicles and can obtain an exemption from an IID on company cars. School buses or large passenger vehicles are excluded from this exemption.
Contact an Experienced DUI Defense Lawyer in Montgomery County
If you’ve been arrested for driving under the influence in Montgomery County, it’s important that you act quickly and contact an attorney following your arrest. The Pennsylvania DUI defense attorneys at Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford, P.C., understand how challenging this time can be for you, which is why we’re dedicated to fighting for your rights and protecting your interests throughout the legal process. Our highly trusted and well-versed legal team understands the ins and outs of Montgomery County DUI defense law and will be with you every step of the way as we try to recover your license.
For nearly 68 years, the attorneys at Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford, P.C., have been serving the legal needs of clients in Montgomery County, Bucks County, Lehigh County, Chester County, Delaware County, and throughout the surrounding areas. We’ve earned the trust and respect of clients facing a wide range of legal problems, including DUI defense law. Our attorneys are ready to protect you and guard your rights. Give us a call at (215) 822-7575 or complete our online contact form today.