Unfortunately, driving under the influence is on the rise in Pittsburgh as it is elsewhere in Pennsylvania. To curb this problem police and other arms of the legal system treat these charges seriously. If you or one of your loved ones faces conviction on a DUI charge it can be harsh and create a permanent criminal record which also influences your future convictions. Pennsylvania follows a three-tier system while convicting an accused based on BAC (Blood Alcohol Concentration) levels. Considering the stakes involved under the DUI laws in Pittsburgh, you should immediately get in touch with a Pittsburgh DUI Lawyer who has a proven track record.What You Must Know
- If chemical tests reveal your BAC levels to be 0.08% or higher you shall be charged with DUI
- You can lose your license for a year or even more and attend a treatment program
- You may need to serve prison term and also pay high fines
In short they try and spot erratic driving on the road. This includes weaving, swerving and driving below the speed limit. They would also take note of other circumstances such as coming close to hitting a vehicle or other stationary object.What Happens When the Police Stop You?
They would be looking for evidences of alcohol consumption such as bloodshot eyes, fumbling hands, flushed face, slurred speech and unable to control yourself while getting out of the vehicle.Field Sobriety Tests
This is one of the common physical tests that the police would ask you to undertake. This basically tests your physical agility and mental capabilities under the influence of alcohol. In this test the police would ask you to –
- Balance yourself on one leg
- Walk in a straight line and turn
- Recite an alphabet with a random letter they give you
- Follow a moving object or light with your head still
The police would ask you to take blood, breath or urine test which is used to measure the BAC level in your body. As mentioned above BAC of 0.08% or above can invite DUI charges under the DUI laws in Pittsburgh. The police can also charge you with DUI below this level if they feel you are impaired and pose threat behind the wheels of a car. This test needs to be carried out within 2 hours of your arrest. Refusing to take this test can lead to suspension of license for a year or even more.Three-Tier System
The State of Pennsylvania follows a three-tier system to determine the level of punishments in DUI cases and this is based on the level of BAC.
- BAC between 0.08% and 0.099% is the first and the lowest tier for sentencing accused. It is also known as General Impairment
- The middle tier is termed as High Impairment and BAC levels between 0.10% and 0.159% fall into this category
- BAC levels of 0.16% and above invite strictest punishment and it is termed as Highest Impairment
- It results in a permanent criminal record and can become an obstacle in finding desired jobs
- Car insurance premiums rise substantially for people with DUI convictions
- In case of injury, death of a person or property damage the accused would face additional sentencing
- Don’t use force or try talk your way out of arrest
- Don’t acknowledge that you have been drinking
- Politely refuse to give out any statements without the assistance of your DUI Lawyer
Every DUI charge and the circumstance around it is unique and hence your DUI lawyer would try and prove –
- You weren’t driving the vehicle
- Police had no legitimate reasons to stop you
- You weren’t impaired
- The DUI checkpoint didn’t meet standards and the test was administered incorrectly
- The equipment used in the test wasn’t calibrated as per law
With such high stakes you need a DUI Lawyer in Pittsburgh who will offer you the best legal counsel based on your actual circumstances. He/she would design your best defense strategy and discredit all the evidence that is presented in the court. In a worst case scenario your attorney would try and make sure you get the lightest possible punishment.
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