DISPELLING DUI MYTHS
May 6, 2021
According to the most recent statistics from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, about 49,730 DUI arrests were made statewide in 2018. Impaired driving is a serious offense in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. However, there are some myths and false assumptions that surround Pennsylvania DUI cases. Without proper guidance or experienced representation, a defendant could easily face serious ramifications and even end up behind bars.
For almost 25 years, I have been handling DUI cases and defending clients facing Pennsylvania DUI charges. At my firm, The Law Offices of John Della Rocca, I have the resources and experience to review and investigate the circumstances surrounding your personal situation and explore all of your legal options. As a knowledgeable Pennsylvania DUI defense attorney, I will fight vigorously to protect your rights, driving privileges, and help you pursue the best possible outcome in your case. My firm proudly represents clients throughout Philadelphia, Montgomery County, and Delaware County, Pennsylvania. I’m also licensed to practice in New Jersey and am proud to serve clients across Eastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
DUI Charges in Pennsylvania
Under Pennsylvania's DUI laws, it is an offense for any person to drive in a public place:
While under the influence of drugs or alcohol
With a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of at least .08%
With any amount of drugs or controlled substances in the person’s system.
A defendant convicted of a drunk driving charge in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania may face jail time, hefty fines, probation, license suspension or revocation, and other social ramifications. However, the severity of the punishment often varies depending on the BAC level, the number of prior convictions, and other surrounding circumstances.
Common Myths & Facts about DUI
Interestingly, there are several popular notions and assumptions surrounding Pennsylvania DUI charges that are often incorrect. Many drivers are unaware of the facts as a result of these misconceptions. For the defendant, not being able to differentiate fact from fiction can easily result in legal consequences. Thankfully, knowing some of the things that you can expect from a legal standpoint can make your DUI case feel more manageable. Below are some common myths about driving under the influence in Pennsylvania and why it’s important to understand the truth:
Misconception #1: A DUI Charge Isn't Worth Fighting
Fighting your drunk driving charge is always worth it. In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, a first offense DUI conviction can result in six months of probation, a maximum fine of $300, and other life-changing consequences. The severe nature of these consequences makes fighting your DUI charges worth your time.
Misconception #2: The Charge is So Common, It Isn't That Serious
Assuming that a DUI charge isn't very serious is just flat wrong. If you are convicted, you could be facing huge fines, a potential prison sentence, and license suspension or revocation. Additionally, there are other devastating, long-term ramifications of a drunk driving conviction, such as exorbitant auto insurance premiums, loss of driving privileges, future employment difficulties, and other challenges associated with education opportunities, housing, public assistance, and other benefits.
Misconception #3: A DUI Will Fall Off of My Record in Seven or Ten Years
Contrary to popular belief, a drunk driving conviction in Pennsylvania won't fall off your record after seven years. In fact, your DUI conviction will appear on your public records, driver's license history, insurance history, credit records, and criminal background checks well beyond seven years. It will only go away when expunged or given limited access relief.
Misconception #4: You Must Submit to a Field Sobriety Test
When the police or law enforcement officers pull you over based on the suspicion of impaired driving, you may be asked to submit to a field sobriety test. Under Pennsylvania laws, drivers are NOT obligated to submit to any field sobriety test. Moreover, there are no consequences for a refusal.
Misconception #5: When Arrested for a DUI, I Don't Have to Submit to a Urine/Blood Test
Under Pennsylvania laws, drivers have the right to refuse to take a breath, blood, or urine test. However, there are civil penalties attached to a test refusal. For refusing to submit to a chemical test, your license will be automatically suspended for 12 months. You will also need to pay a license restoration fee of between $500 and $2,000. If you refuse chemical testing, however, PennDOT has the authority to suspend your driving privileges as a result of that refusal.
Misconception #6: You Have To ActuallyBe Driving To Be Arrested For A DUI
Under Pennsylvania law, a police officer can charge you with driving under the influence if you are in "actual physical control" of a motor vehicle. This includes simply being behind the wheel with the engine on, even if the car is in park. You don't necessarily have to be driving in order to be charged with a DUI. The court will look at both direct and circumstantial evidence to determine if the offender was "driving."
Get The Facts from an Experienced Pennsylvania DUI Attorney
In order to avoid severe criminal penalties and social ramifications of a DUI conviction, it is always a good idea to fight your DUI charges. However, defending these charges without experienced representation could easily increase your risk of being convicted and suffering significant penalties. Therefore, when facing DUI charges, it is crucial to retain an aggressive and highly skilled Pennsylvania DUI defense attorney who can protect your rights and outline an effective defense strategy for your case.
Here at my firm, The Law Offices of John Della Rocca, I am dedicated to providing comprehensive legal guidance and vigorous representation to clients facing DUI charges. As your legal counsel, I can investigate all the facts of your case, outline a strong defense strategy, and refute the charges against you in pursuit of a positive outcome. I will also help you navigate the Pennsylvania criminal justice system and ensure that you receive fair treatment at every stage of the legal process. Having me on your side can make a big difference in your drunk driving case and improve your chances of getting your charges reduced or dropped altogether.
If you're facing drunk driving charges, don't face them alone. Contact my firm – The Law Offices of John Della Rocca – today to schedule a one-on-one case evaluation. I will fight vigorously to protect your rights and your driving privileges. My firm is also proud to serve clients across Philadelphia, Montgomery County, and Delaware County, Pennsylvania, as well as across the state line into New Jersey. Call or reach out to my office today to get the help you need.