Carbondale, PA- The holiday season is kicking off and with any celebration there is drinking. And if you’re drinking and decide to drive you could find yourself on the wrong side of the law especially as police step up their efforts to get intoxicated drivers off of the road. If get stopped and charged with a DUI this holiday season you need there are a few things you need to know which we will discuss here.
Do I have to submit to field sobriety tests or a breathalyzer?
When an officer pulls you over for suspicion of driving under the influence, the first thing they are going to ask you is to participate in field sobriety tests. This is how they determine if you are intoxicated and whether to conduct a field sobriety test.
If they suspect you are intoxicated based on how you perform on the field sobriety tests, an officer will ask you to submit to a breath or chemical test. You don’t have to agree to these tests, but bear in mind your refusal has a different set of consequences.
Pennsylvania, like most states, has an implied consent law, which means that once you obtain your driver’s license in the state, you agree to submit to a breath or chemical test. Refusing these tests will result in a minimum license suspension of one year, but that’s not all. If refuse a test and are later convicted of a DUI you could face penalties for refusing the test of top of penalties from driving under the influence.
Will I have to spend time in jail?
Aside from the hours or days you spent in jail after your arrest, jail is a possibility for second and third DUI convictions. In Pennsylvania there is no minimum mandatory jail sentence for first-time DUI offenders. Second and third convictions however do have mandatory minimums which can range from 5 days to two years depending on the circumstances of your case.
How much will a DUI charge cost me?
The fines for a first DUI charge is $300. With a second offense, you could be facing fines up to $2,500, but the fines are just a fraction of the costs you face. You must also pay to have your vehicle released from impound.
If you plead guilty or are convicted you must pay to have an ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle and then must pay the monthly maintenance fees. If you have to take an alcohol or drug education class, those cost come out of your pocket.
Additional costs include legal fees, increased insurance rates, alternative transportation costs and a possible loss of income if you have difficulties getting to and from work. Overall, a DUI conviction can cost several thousand dollars.
How long does a DUI conviction stay on my record?
The look back period for a DUI in Pennsylvania is 10 years, meaning if you are convicted of a subsequent DUI within that time period it will factor into your case and influence the penalties you receive if you are convicted.
Can I plea bargain?
Pennsylvania doesn’t allow DUI offenders to negotiate for a plea bargain.
Do I need a Pennsylvania DUI attorney?
Yes! You need a Pennsylvania DUI attorney. Having expert legal counsel gives you the opportunity to challenge the charges and possibly avoid conviction. Without a DUI defense, your conviction is certain and your will be facing the consequences for years to come.