Pennsylvania DUI Defense FAQ

If you have been arrested for a DUI in Pennsylvania, you have a lot of questions on your mind. We hope that this FAQ page can help answer some of the questions that are on your mind.

I got caught drinking and driving. What can be done for me?

In many cases, defenses can be raised from the reason behind the stop of your car to the reliability of the test results. With police officers writing so many reports each week, details can be left out which provides a legal defense for the stop. In other words, details could be missing from the officer’s report that would give the officer reason to initially stop your vehicle. Additionally, it is also possible to show that there was an error with the machine that tested your blood-alcohol content.

What are the potential defenses in a DUI case?

There are several defenses that can be used in a DUI case. First, the officer who pulled you over must have probable cause to pull you over so the officer must base their stop on a violation on the PA Motor Vehicle Code. Once you are then stopped, the officer must have reason to ask you to perform field sobriety tests. This is typically justified by the officer smelling alcohol, observing glassy eyes, or hearing slurred speech. If there was no basis for the officer to make a stop of your vehicle, evidence may be suppressed, which means that the government may not use it against you at trial. Other areas that can be challenged in your case are the methods and results of the tests used against you.

Can I present any arguments for failing a field sobriety test?

Yes, certain defense may be available if you fail a field sobriety test. For example, if you are asked to perform the walk-and-turn test and stumble, an injured ankle or other physical impairment could be used as a defense.

Furthermore, officers must follow certain guidelines when administering these tests. The conditions must be safe to administer the test. If the area of the test was too dark or the ground was slippery or uneven, you may have a defense.

What do police use to justify stopping me?

Police look for a number of motor vehicle violations to stop drives which include: speeding, swerving, tailgating, braking erratically, turning with a wide radius, straddling the center lane, almost striking another object or vehicle, driving without headlights, not using turn signals, among others.

What are the different BAC levels and how do they affect my case?

Pennsylvania determines your sentence based on what your BAC was and how many prior DUIs you have had.

Tier 1 -€“ 0.08-0.099
Tier 2 -€“ 0.10-0.159
Tier 3 -€“ 0.16+

Please see our article on PA DUI Penalties to determine potential fines and jail time.

Can I represent myself?

Yes, you have the Constitutional right to represent yourself. However, DUI offenses can include hefty fines, the suspension of your driving license, and in some cases, jail time. In order to present a sufficient defense to your DUI and minimize the penalties assessed against you, it’s important to seek a PA DUI defense attorney to help represent you.