Pennsylvania DUI Drugs or DUI-D Laws

PA DUI Drugs
Being accused of Pennsylvania DUI Drugs or Driving Under the Influence of Drugs or PA DUID as it’s known here in Pennsylvania – means you’re facing some very serious penalties. Thedriving under the influence of drugs penalties are severe. Some don’t even make sense. Like why do you put someone on pre-trial alcohol monitoring with SCRAm if the case doesn’t involve alcohol. Lots of every day drugs can lead to a DUI. Even over the counter drugs can lead to DUI charges. But a great drug DUI lawyer can fight to stop the prosecution. Whether if it medical marijuana DUI or recreational marijuana DUI in PA, we know how to fight. If the prosecution wants to punish you for using your lawfully prescribed medication or if it is for illicit street drugs like cocaine DUI, we know what to do.

DUI-D cases are a very specialized type of DUI case. It involves features of

  • advanced analytical chemistry (gas chromatography or liquid chromatography with mass spectrometry),
  • pharmacology (pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics),
  • law,
  • and the complex intersection of the 3.

The experienced PA DUI-D lawyers of The McShane Firm are highly-trained to deal with these special type of DUI cases.

Pennsylvania DUI-D Laws

There are two basic types of DUID cases in PA.

  1. Per se based
  2. Impairment-based

When selecting which attorney to hire, please consider:

  • Can you call anytime and talk to a live person?
  • Do they offer payment plans with no credit checks?
  • Will your attorney be attentive and explain what’s going on?

At The McShane Firm, we answer yes to all of these questions. We strive to provide you with a great customer service experience during this tough time.

Per se based DUID

When it comes to schedule I and schedule II drugs without a prescription, the State of Pennsylvania uses a “per se” law when charging DUI-D cases. This means that they do not have to prove impairment at the time of driving for schedule I and II drugs.

List of Schedule I and Schedule II drugs in PA that can be prosecuted in PA:

  Amphetamine II
  Methamphetamine II
  Methylenedioxyamphetamine (MDA) I
  Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA, Ecstasy) I
  Methadone II
  Delta-9-THC (THC)* I
  11-Hydroxy-Delta-9-THC (THC-OH) I
  11-Nor-9-Carboxy-Delta-9-THC (THC-COOH) I
  Cocaine II
  Benzoylecgonine II
  Phencyclidine II
  Codeine II
  Hydrocodone II
  Hydromorphone II
  6-Monoacetylmorphine II
  Morphine II
  Oxycodone II
  Amobarbital II
  Pentobarbital II
  Secobarbital II
*THC = tetrahydrocannabinol


This means if the analytical chemistry result shows above a minimum threshold level of the drug present, then the prosecution doesn’t have to prove impairment. If your DUI-drug attorney doesn’t know analytical chemistry. how can you win the case? How can you beat the drug DUI? If you care found guilty, you’ll face charges under the State’s Highest tier. This highest tier carries the most serious penalties. Don’t let a Pennsylvania DUI Drugs case ruin your whole life.

Impairment-based DUID

The prosecution can charge you not only for a per se case, but also as impaired drugged driving in PA. But if the drug is not on that specific list above, then the prosecution can only go after you and win a conviction if they can prove that you were impaired at the time of driving. This is often extremely difficult.

Drugs in PA that can be used under this brand on impairment-based DUID is endless. In PA, in theory, anything added to the body including over-the-counter drugs or caffeine could be the basis for a DUID impairment-based DUID.

What is The McShane Difference?

  • We take time to understand your personal needs and goals. Then we cater our legal strategy to fit you.
  • We care about you. We listen and return phone calls. We will take time to explain things so you are not left anxious in the dark.
  • We will make this as easy as possible. We will try to minimize the number of times you have to be in court which means less disruption of your work and family life.

Does this sound like what you are looking for in an attorney? If yes, then take the next step and call (717) 657-3900.

Why it’s hard for the prosecution to win an impairment-based DUID case

Drug impairment doesn’t necessarily look like being drunk. In fact, police receive special training called ARIDE or DRE to try to take the very complex question of impairment due to drugs and simplify it. There is nothing at all simple about pharmacology. What a drug dose does to one person may be fatal. But that same dose in another person may be therapeutic. This is a special concern when the DUID case is based upon lawfully prescribed medication from a registered doctor. A poorly trained officer should never be able to over ride the medical decision of a qualified doctor. When the prosecution says that your doctor is wrong and tries to turn a patient into a defendant, we get fired up.

Further, few attorneys who dabble in PA DUI, know how the burden shifts to the government to prove that you did not follow thew doctor’s recommendation when you there is a prescribed drug in the blood.

Pennsylvania DUI-D Penalties

DUI cases involving drugs are automatically charged at the state’s Highest tier, meaning they are subject to the harshest penalties for DUI in Pennsylvania. The following are the penalties for a DUI-D conviction in PA:

First Offense



  • Jail sentence from 3 days to 6 months
  • License suspension for 12 months (interlock immediately)
  • Ignition interlock for 12 months
  • Fees and costs not less than $3000
  • Fines between $1,000 and $5,000

Second Offense



  • First degree misdemeanor conviction
  • Jail sentence of 90 days to 5 years
  • License suspension for 18 months (ignition interlock after 9 months)
  • Ignition interlock for 12 months
  • Fees and costs not less than $3000
  • Fines ranging from $1,500 to $10,000

Third Offense



  • Felony of the third degree
  • Jail sentence from 1 to 7 years.
    Sentence to be served consecutively to any other sentence.
  • License suspension for 18 months (interlock after 9 months)
  • Ignition interlock for 12 months
  • Fees and costs not less than $5000
  • Fines ranging from $2,500 to $15,000
  • Mandatory DNA sampling and placement into FBI database forever

What if you have prior DUI that is not drugs and now you have a first drug DUI?

The prior DUI convictions will count as priors. This means that if you have two DUI alcohol convictions in the past 10 years. But have no prior drugged driving convictions during that time, it is a third offense DUI and subject to the third offense penalties outlined above.

The consequences of PA Drugged driving convictions

A DUI-D conviction will be noted on your permanent, public criminal record – meaning any potential employer, landlord, loan officer, or nosy neighbor who wants to probe into your past can see your DUI-D conviction. And since that conviction never goes away, it can often complicate job applications and insurance rates far into your future.

As you can see, a DUI-D conviction really can change your life – and not for the better. Which is why it is so important to fight back by hiring an aggressive DUI attorney with specific experience in DUI-D cases like yours.

Our Clients are entitled to a Bill of Rights which states:

  • Our clients have the right to expect, we will be proactive in communication. You will hear it from us first. We will return all phone calls, texts and emails promptly.
  • Our clients have the right to expect plain speaking, straight shooting. No B. S.
  • Our clients have the right to expect us to do it right the first time, every time.
  • Our clients have the right to expect us to be on time and professionally prepared for all court appearances, and all meetings.
  • Our clients have the right to expect that they will be fully informed at all times.

This is our promise to you. Call today to get us on your side: (717) 657-3900.

How The McShane Firm Can Help You Fight Back

Each DUI-D case is different. Everyone reacts to drugs in their system. You absorb or eliminate the drug at a different rate. The pharmacodynamic impact is different. So, you can be considered under the influence of drugs legally and/or accidentally even if the drugs in question are over-the-counter or prescription medication. But try actually proving that to the court by yourself.

Your blood sample at the time of arrest could also have been contaminated. Procedures are not always followed. The results can be flawed.

Similarly, police officers may have violated the State’s search and seizure and/or reasonable suspicion laws when they pulled you over. But chances are, you wouldn’t know it. And if you did, how could you get the court to believe you?

The McShane Firm can help. Our attorneys are highly-trained in the nuances of DUI-D cases, and we employ some of the foremost DUI-D expert witnesses in the courtroom. Our superior knowledge of forensic science and aggressive courtroom style sets us apart from all other DUI-D lawyers. With The McShane Firm at your side, you can feel confident that every possibility will be explored in your case in order to fully protect your rights.

Know Your Rights

If you’re ready to fight back against your DUI-D charge, Contact The McShane Firm today for your free initial consultation. We’re ready to fight for you.


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