Pittsburgh DUI Defense Attorneys
Quality High-Stakes Advocacy Informed by 40+ Years of Experience and 100+ Jury Trials Handled
Whether your accusation involved an accident or not, charges for driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI) are serious matters. The penalties upon conviction are severe, and they can be more so if the charge involved:
- An accident with another vehicle
- Property damage
- Vehicular damage
- Death or injury
Every DUI case is different, so you need an experienced and practical attorney familiar with a range of DUI circumstances like the above and who understands the complex laws surrounding your case. James M. Herb & Associates has over 40 years of experience handling hundreds of jury trials, and we will provide personalized defense strategies unique to your case.
Don't get stuck with the long-term damage of a DUI charge. Let us represent your case and help to reduce or eliminate the charges against you. Call (412) 533-4821 or contact us online to get started.
What Constitutes “Driving Under the Influence?”
It is illegal to drive or be in actual physical control of a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs or with any amount of controlled substances in the driver’s blood. Note that a driver is considered to be “under the influence” if they are impaired to the extent that they are incapable of safely driving.
Alternatively, a driver can be charged with “per se DUI” if they are found to have the following blood alcohol content (BAC), depending on the situation:
- .08% or more;
- .04% or more for commercial drivers;
- .02% or more for bus drivers and drivers under the age of 21.
Penalties and Sentencing in PA
Pennsylvania DUI law categorizes DUIs into 3 different penalty classes, depending on the BAC level – general impairment DUIs (.08%-.10%), high rate DUIs (.10%-.16%), and highest rate DUIs (.16% or more). In all three classes, the jail time, fines, and license suspension penalties will depend on how many prior offenses the defendant has within the past 10 years.
General impairment DUIs (.08%-.10%) are punishable by:
- 1st offense – 6 months of probation; $300 in fines
- 2nd offense – up to 6 months in jail; $300-$2,500 in fines; 12 months of license suspension
- 3rd offense – up to 2 years in jail; $500-$5,000 in fines; 12 months of license suspension
High rate DUIs (.10%-.16%) warrant the following sentencing ranges:
- 1st offense – up to 6 months in jail; $500-$5,000 in fines; 12 months of license suspension
- 2nd offense – up to 6 months in jail; $750-$5,000 in fines; 12 months of license suspension
- 3rd offense – up to 5 years in jail; $1,500-$10,000 in fines; 18 months of license suspension
The above also applies to offenses involving a commercial vehicle, drivers under the age of 21, or accidents resulting in injury, death, or property damage.
Highest rate DUIs (.16% or more) carry the following penalties:
- 1st offense – up to 6 months in jail; $1,000-$5,000 in fines; 12 months of license suspension
- 2nd offense – up to 5 years in jail; $1,500-$10,000 in fines; 18 months of license suspension
- 3rd offense – up to 5 years in jail; $2,500-$10,000 in fines; 18 months of license suspension
All defendants, regardless of the penalty class, must complete an alcohol and drug evaluation, as well as up to 150 hours of community service. Some may also be asked to attend a DUI victim’s impact panel. Note that the penalties may increase if aggravating factors were present, such as if the drunk driver was transporting a minor passenger.
Drivers who have their licenses suspended will be required to use an ignition interlock device (IID) for at least one year after reinstatement. In some situations, it may be possible for drivers to restore limited driving privileges during suspension if they use an IID.
Violating PA’s Implied Consent Laws
Drivers lawfully arrested for DUI are required by law to submit to a breath or blood test to determine the amount of drugs or alcohol in their system. Refusal could result in 12 months of license suspension and a $500 license reinstatement fee. Second and subsequent refusals could warrant 18 months of suspension and $1,000-$2,000 in fines.
If you have been charged with a DUI in Pittsburgh, PA, do not hesitate to contact our team at James M. Herb & Associates for legal representation. The first thing you should do after arrest or accusation is contact a DUI defense lawyer. The quicker you reach out to an attorney, the quicker they can examine the available evidence and build a strong defense.
Our trial lawyers can take a look at your situation and lay out all your legal options to help you make the best decision for your situation. For example, we might be able to argue for reduced or even dismissed charges, or we can help you petition for an IID license so you can still drive in some capacity while your license is suspended.
Time is of the essence in a DUI case. Contact our firm online or at (412) 533-4821 to discuss your legal options following a DUI accusation.