DUI Defense Attorneys in Allentown, Pennsylvania
Driving under the influence (DUI) charges can have serious and even life-altering consequences, which is why facing charges can be a terrifying experience. Because of this, it’s important that you understand your right to a fair defense. At Rapa Law Office, P.C., our attorneys work diligently so you can understand your rights, fight for them, and work towards a better future.
Whether you believe you are innocent or guilty, every single person deserves a fair fight. If you are in need of support from skilled DUI attorneys, look no further than our firm. Reach out today to schedule a free consultation.
DUI Charges in Pennsylvania
DUI laws state that people should never be in control of any vehicle if:
You have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of at least .08%;
You have any amount of Schedule I or II controlled substances in your body (such as heroin, marijuana, molly, fentanyl, and more); and/or,
The impairment of any drugs or alcohol affected your ability to drive safely, even if your BAC is less than .08%.
It’s important to understand, too, that it’s possible to get a DUI even if you aren’t driving. If you are either driving or in physical control of the vehicle (such as sitting behind the wheel, even if it’s parked), you can be charged.
Further, there are additional laws in Pennsylvania that people must follow, including:
Anyone under the age of 21 (20 and younger) cannot control a vehicle with any amount of alcohol in their system due to Pennsylvania’s Zero Tolerance law.
If you are driving a commercial vehicle, you are subject to charges if your BAC is .02% for school vehicles or buses or .04% for any other commercial vehicle.
Motorists cannot surpass a BAC of .16%, which is the highest rate of alcohol. If their BAC reaches this level, they may be subject to higher penalties.
Sobriety Tests and Your Rights
If you are pulled over, you may wonder if you are allowed to deny a sobriety test. Pennsylvania adopts an implied consent law, which states that anyone who drives (and/or has a driver’s license and is in control of a vehicle) agrees to chemical testing. If chemical tests are refused, the driver is at risk of facing civil penalties. Chemical tests are used to determine BAC levels, and these tests include the following:
However, this does not mean you are required to take a field sobriety test. You have the right to deny a field sobriety test, even though you do not have the right to refuse a chemical test. Field sobriety tests include the horizontal-gaze-nystagmus (HGN) test (the eye movement test), the walk-and-turn test, and the one-leg-stand test. If you do consent to taking a field sobriety test, this can in some cases be used against you in court. For example, if you fail the test and then challenge the police officer’s decision to arrest you, this could be used as failure to comply with police orders.
Remember, because you were on the road, you have already agreed to chemical tests. Make sure that you don’t refuse one, that you do politely refuse a field sobriety test, and that you understand your rights with the support of a criminal defense attorney.
Possible Penalties for DUI Charges
The penalties you incur after a DUI charge will largely depend on prior DUI convictions, other criminal offenses (such as manslaughter due to driving under the influence), the BAC, and other elements. In general, though, common penalties include:
jail or prison time;
requirement of using an ignition interlock program;
increased insurance rates;
Having the support of a DUI attorney can help you fight against these charges and help you fully understand your options, such as getting alternative or reduced penalties.
Ignition Interlock Program
If your license has been suspended, one option you may have is to obtain something called a hardship license, which allows you the driver to go to work, school, or other important, court-approved activities. Often (though not always), courts require drivers to insert and use an ignition interlock device (IID). This is a program that requires a breathalyzer test, and if there is no alcohol in your system, this will allow your car’s ignition system to work—in other words, your car won’t start unless you’re completely sober.
DUI Defense Attorneys in Allentown, Pennsylvania
At Rapa Law Office, P.C., we know that every situation is different. We are more than prepared to face your individual circumstances with a creative yet dedicated and knowledgeable approach, with the goal to free you of your charges—or get as close as possible. When you work with us, you will be informed of your options every step of the way. If you’re in the Allentown or Lehighton area—including Palmerton, Jim Thorpe, Bethlehem, Walnutport, Northampton, and Slatington—reach out to us to schedule a free consultation.