First DUI Offense
Everyone makes mistakes, no matter how good they try to be. For many, one such mistake could be a DUI charge. Sadly, a DUI charge will negatively affect a person’s life, both personally and professionally, even a first-time DUI. Police officers and state troopers all over the United States crack down increasingly harder on DUI. As a result, even those with no previous offenses related to DUI can wind up facing harsh consequences.
First-Time DUI Penalties
According to Pennsylvania law, the blood alcohol concentration of a person’s blood at the time of their alleged DUI is the guide to the classification of DUI offenses and punishments.
- General Impairment: A person is generally impaired when their BAC falls between .08 and .09 percent; disciplinary actions include jail sentences of up to six months and fines of up to $300.
- High BAC: “High BAC” is the term used to describe a blood alcohol content that is .10 to .159 percent; penalties include two days to six months in prison, a suspended license for 12 months, and fines of $500 to $5,000.
- Highest BAC: The term law enforcement uses to describe a BAC of .016 percent or higher; penance includes a period of imprisonment of 72 hours to six months, 12-months of license suspension, and fines ranging from $1,000 to $5,000.
For a first-time offense, if the DUI charge is classified as a General Impairment charge, there will be no mandatory incarceration or suspension of driver’s license. But, that person may be required to attend Alcohol Highway Safety School, be on probation for as long as six months, and pay up to $300 in fines. Recent changes to the law require an ignition interlock device be installed on the vehicles of some first-time DUI offenders for a period of time following a conviction.
An ignition interlock device is a device that is attached to the ignition system of a person’s car. The driver is required to blow into the device. If the system detects too much alcohol on the person’s breath, the vehicle will not start. If the person’s BAC is below the legal limit, the ignition will turn over and start the engine. One of the purposes of this device is to allow those convicted of DUI to retain their driving privileges, which for many means retaining their employment.
This could change if you refuse a breathalyzer at the time of your arrest. In that case, you might be required to have an ignition interlock device installed on your vehicle and be restricted to driving only that vehicle for a year. If your BAC was in the High or Highest category, you might receive a mandatory suspension of your driver’s license, a mandatory period of incarceration, and higher fines.
Are There Alternatives to Conviction in a First-Time DUI Case?
Sometimes, a conviction in a first-time DUI case is inevitable. But, there are other options available to that offender that will help him keep his criminal record clean. For example, he might qualify for a period of probation and a deferred verdict. If he gets through that probationary period without further charges, his offense can be removed from his permanent record. Depending on the circumstances surrounding his DUI charges, he might qualify for ARD (Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition), a program in Pennsylvania for first-time DUI offenders that, when successfully completed, allows his record to be expunged.
If you or a loved one have been charged for the first time with Driving Under the Influence in or around the city of Pittsburgh, you will need an experienced criminal defense attorney. The Logue Criminal Defense team serves Pittsburgh, PA, and the surrounding SW Pennsylvania areas, including West Virginia and Ohio. To get in touch and schedule a free initial consultation with an experienced Pittsburgh Criminal Defense lawyer from Logue Law Group, call us today at (412) 612-2210 or (412) 389-0805. Or, you can contact us online.
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