All people, no matter how good they may be, make mistakes throughout their lives. One such mistake may be a DUI charge. Unfortunately, even a first-time DUI charge can have negative repercussions for an individual’s personal and professional life. As law enforcement officials in Pennsylvania and nationwide have continued to increasingly crack down on DUI, even those individuals with no prior history of DUI or related offenses can face severe consequences.
We understand that good people are capable of making mistakes and that many first-time DUI charges are simply that – mistakes. Our goal at The Law Offices of Steven E. Kellis is to calm your concerns by thoroughly preparing your case and taking an aggressive stance to defend your rights against the pending DUI charges. Mr. Kellis has used his 20 years of jury trial experience and his dedication to exclusively defend clients against DUI charges to help them avoid the severe penalties of a first-time DUI offense. Contact Mr. Kellis for an immediate free consultation, and learn more about the strong defense that he can provide for you in your first-time DUI case.
Penalties for a First-Time DUI Conviction
Pennsylvania law classifies drunk driving offenses and their resulting punishments according to the blood alcohol content (BAC) level of the individual at the time of the alleged DUI.
For a first-time DUI offense in Pennsylvania, the consequences will depend on the amount of alcohol in your system at the time of your arrest. If your blood-alcohol content (BAC) is between .08-0.99%, you’ll receive no more than 6 months probation, a $300 fine, mandatory alcohol highway safety school, and possibly alcohol and drug treatment. If your BAC is between .10-0.159%, you’ll spend 48 hours to six months in jail, $500-$5,000 in fines, a 12-month license suspension, mandatory alcohol highway safety school, and possibly alcohol and drug treatment. For a BAC of 0.16% or higher, you could face 72 hours to 6 months in jail, a $1,000-$5,000 fine, a 12-month license suspension, mandatory alcohol highway safety school, and alcohol and drug treatment.
If, however, you refuse to undergo an alcohol breath test at the time of DUI arrest, you may be required to drive only using an ignition interlock device for one year. Likewise, a DUI offense involving a High BAC or Highest BAC may subject you to higher fines, mandatory terms of incarceration, and a mandatory driver’s license suspension. Steven E. Kellis has represented countless individuals charged with a first-time DUI and wants you to be aware of not only the potential penalties, but also the options that you may have in terms of dealing with your charge.
How many drinks does it take to be impaired?
It’s never a good idea to drink and drive, but you can get an approximation of what your BAC may be using an online calculator. The tools use factors like your gender, how many drinks you’ve consumed, how long you’ve been drinking, and your weight to calculate your projected BAC level.
However, no chart or calculator can truly determine your BAC level, and you shouldn’t use it as an excuse to drink and drive. Always plan to have a designated driver or to use a rideshare app to get home after drinking.
Refusing to Take a Chemical Test
According to Pennsylvania’s “Implied Consent” law, refusing to take a chemical test after the field sobriety test could result in additional penalties. As a driver on the state’s roadways, it is implied that you agree to submit to a chemical test of blood, breath, or urine if an officer suspects you have drugs or alcohol in your system. If this is your first DUI offense and you refuse to submit to a chemical test, you may face a one-year license suspension. For your second or third offense, you could receive an 18-month suspension.
Costs Associated with a DUI
Even after you’ve paid the fine for your first DUI, there are other costs you should prepare for. Here’s a breakdown of the major costs of a first time DUI in Pennsylvania:
|Auto Insurance Increase||$2,000 to $6,000|
|State Restitution Fund||$100|
|Alcohol-Abuse Education Fund||$50|
|Blood/Breath Testing Fee||$37|
|License Reissue Fee||$60|
|Attorney Fees (average)||$2,500|
|Total:||$5,482 to $9,482|
In all, you could be looking at more than $10,000 in associated fees after your arrest.
Alternatives to a First-Time DUI Conviction
In some cases, a DUI conviction may be inevitable. However, there are options that may be available to first-time DUI offenders that can help keep your record clean. Aside from the many defenses that may apply to your case, a first-time offender may qualify for a deferred verdict and a period of probation. If an individual successfully completes the probationary period, then the offense may be removed from the individual’s permanent criminal record. Depending on your circumstances, you could qualify for Pennsylvania’s Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition program, which allows you to complete certain requirements, including alcohol education classes. Again, if you successfully complete the program requirements, you will be able to have the offense wiped clean from your record.
Contact Us | Free Consultation
At The Law Offices of Steven E. Kellis, we devote our practice exclusively to representing those who have been accused of DUI or DUI-related offenses. Mr. Kellis can provide you with unparalleled experience and unique knowledge of Pennsylvania DUI laws. For a free consultation regarding your DUI charge, contact us today.