We all know that drunk driving is dangerous and could lead to an arrest, but that doesn’t mean that one mistake should dictate the course of the rest of your life. In Pennsylvania, a first-offense conviction of driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) can result in license suspension, fines, jail time, and a criminal record. If you’re arrested, you will need to find an experienced DUI lawyer in Harrisburg and York, that’s attorney Roy Galloway.
What to Expect When You Are Stopped for DUI in PA
If you are pulled over for DUI, the officer will ask you for your license, registration, and proof of insurance. They will observe your behavior the entire time, and if they think you are inebriated, they may ask you to take a field sobriety test, also referred to as “roadside exercises.”
In Pennsylvania, there are three field sobriety exercises. The horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN) test involves a subject’s ability to follow a small moving object, such as a pen or a flashlight, with their eyes, both horizontally and vertically. The walk-and-turn exercise involves walking in a straight line with your heels touching your toes for nine steps, taking a 180-degree turn, and taking nine similar steps back. The one-legged stand exercise entails balancing yourself on one foot while counting to thirty without extending yourself with your arms for balance. You have the right to refuse to participate in these exercises, and if you are ever asked to perform them, you should politely refuse. Pennsylvania field sobriety exercises are difficult, and will usually only help the police to build their DUI case against you.
You may also be asked to take a breath, urine, or blood test to determine your blood alcohol level. There has been recent controversy over the brand of breathalyzer that the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania uses, and pursuant to recent court rulings, the Pennsylvania State Police have refrained from using them temporarily.
What Qualifies as a DUI in Pennsylvania?
As in most states, you are considered to be driving under the influence when you are driving and your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) reaches.08%. Your level of inebriation plays a part in determining the penalties you will receive if you are convicted of first-offense drunk driving.
A first offense for drunk driving at a .08% level can result in fines of up to $300. You are not likely to face jail time, but if you refused to take a chemical test you may lose your license for a year. If your BAC is at a .10% or higher you may face fines of up to $5000, license suspension, and a year in jail.
Building Your Defense
In order to build a good defense, you and your DUI attorney must go over every detail of your arrest and the events leading up to it. If your arresting officer did not follow protocol, your attorney may be able to get the charges dropped or negotiate a favorable plea.
It’s unlikely that your case will get the attention that it requires if you opt for an overworked and relatively inexperienced public defender. A DUI conviction will result in a criminal record and you need a representative who knows the law and will fight to get you the best possible deal. If you’ve been arrested near Harrisburg or York, contact the Law Office of Roy Galloway immediately to discuss your case.