There are several factors that determine the consequences and penalties for a first-time DUI arrest; things like the amount of alcohol in the person’s system (his Blood Alcohol Concentration, also called his BAC) and the presence of drugs—either prescription medications or illegal narcotics—in his blood. If you have been arrested for DUI, a Pittsburgh criminal defense attorney can be your best ally.
There are three tiers of DUI offenses in Pennsylvania, which is what makes this so important. The penalties and fines assigned to a person convicted of DUI depend upon which tier his or her first-time DUI offense falls in—Tier 1, Tier 2, or Tier 3. If he or she is arrested with a BAC of 0.16 percent or above, the case would be a Tier 3, the highest tier. A Blood Alcohol Concentration of 0.16 percent is twice the legal limit in Pennsylvania. Additional factors that make a DUI a Tier 3 are refusing to submit to a blood, breath, or urine test, and having illegal narcotics or prescription medications in the system. Another term for Tier 3 is Highest DUI.
If a person’s DUI is in the highest tier, their fine would be a fine of anywhere from $1,500 to $5,000 and a jail sentence of anywhere from three days to six months. Depending on the county in which the offense occurred, community service could be required. Also, the person would have to submit to a CRN, which is the term for an alcohol evaluation interview and safe driving classes. Additionally, the person’s driver’s license would be suspended for a period of one year.
If a person’s first-time DUI involves a BAC of between 0.10 and 0.159, it would be classified as a Tier 2 DUI. A Tier 2 DUI is also called a High DUI. Penalties for a High DUI include a jail sentence of between two days and six months, and a one-year suspension of the person’s driver’s license.
The driver’s license aspect of a Tier 2 or Tier 3 DUI is the reason it’s so important for a person accused of Driving Under the Influence to hire an experienced and aggressive DUI lawyer. A good Pittsburgh DUI attorney can get him or her into the First Offender Program, which will shorten the driver’s license suspension. It’s possible for the attorney to get you out of a suspension altogether. It depends upon the facts of the case.
A Tier 1 DUI is also referred to as a General Impairment DUI and is what a person’s charge is when their BAC is between 0.08 percent and 0.999 percent. This is the lowest tier of DUI offenses, and comes with no jail time and no license suspension for a first-time offender.
Pennsylvania’s First Offender Program is another term for an Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition. Often referred to as ARD, this disposition is sometimes offered to first-time DUI offenders as a way to help them avoid jail time and fines. Successful completion of the program can result in dropped charges and eligibility for an expungement of the arrest from a person’s criminal record.
To qualify to enter an ARD program, the offender must not have any DUI convictions on his or her record prior to the current one. They must have had a valid registration and driver’s license at the time they were arrested, and the DUI must not have involved an accident.
Have you or a loved one been stopped while driving and arrested for DUI for the first time? If so, you will need the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney, one who is well-versed in DUI law and defenses. The Logue Criminal Defense team has served hundreds of DUI clients. Logue Law Group serves the Pittsburgh, PA, area, as well as West Virginia and Ohio. Call today for a free initial consultation. (412) 612-2210 or (412) 389-0805, or contact us online.