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What first-time offenders need to know about DUI defense

On Behalf of | Apr 19, 2024 | Drunk Driving Defense

Facing a DUI charge as a first-time offender can be daunting and confusing.

Those who find themselves in this difficult situation should know about key defense strategies and what to expect throughout the legal process.

Know the basics of DUI law

Pennsylvania law states that driving with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or higher constitutes a DUI. For commercial drivers, the limit lowers to 0.04%, and for individuals under 21, it is just 0.02%. Penalties can increase with the BAC level, so knowing your BAC at the time of arrest can significantly impact your defense strategy.

Gather and review evidence

After an arrest, you should request all evidence that the prosecution plans to use against you. This includes police reports, breath test results and any video footage from the arrest. Reviewing this evidence with your attorney can help identify any inconsistencies or procedural mistakes, such as the improper administration of a breath test or lack of probable cause for the initial traffic stop.

Challenge the traffic stop

One effective defense is challenging the legality of the initial traffic stop. In Police need a valid reason, such as a traffic violation or observable signs of impairment, to stop a driver. If the officer did not have a legitimate reason for the stop, it might be possible to argue that any evidence gathered as a result should not be admissible in court.

Consider alternative defenses

Several other defenses might apply, depending on the circumstances of your case. These can include:

  • Rising blood alcohol argument: This defense claims that the defendant’s BAC was below the legal limit while driving but rose between the time of the stop and the administration of the breath test.
  • Medical conditions: Some medical conditions can interfere with breath test results. Conditions like acid reflux or diabetes might cause the device to register a higher BAC.
  • Faulty breathalyzer calibration: Demonstrating that the breath test equipment was not properly calibrated or maintained could invalidate the test results.

An attorney can provide guidance, represent you in court and help minimize the potential penalties, which might include fines, license suspension and even jail time.

Facing a DUI charge is a serious situation, but with the right defense strategy, first-time offenders can work towards a favorable outcome. By understanding your rights and options, you can better manage the challenges of the DUI process in Pennsylvania.