You have questions. We give you answers. We collected all of the most frequently asked questions that we get. This free resource was the result. It is the Pennsylvania DUI FAQ:
Questions and Answers about PA DUI (in simple English): Pennsylvania DUI FAQ
1. Will I lose my license?
- If you are convicted of DUI in any category other than a First Offense at the General Impairment Tier (BAC up to .099%), you will lose your license for at least a year. Some folks depending on their circumstances may lose it for longer. CDL license holders in particular face extreme consequences to their license. This is true even if the DUI did not happen in a commercial vehicle.
2. Will I go to jail?
- A DUI conviction in any category other than a First Offense at the General Impairment Tier (BAC up to .099%) results in mandatory jail time. This ranges from a minimum of 3 days to a maximum of 60 months (5 years). It all depends upon what happens with your case. It depends on if you win or lose. Your BAC, prior record, license type, and whether your case involves an injury, accident, or death, all factor into the judge’s decision to send you to jail or not. There are jail alternatives such as work release, SCRAM or House Arrest with Electronic Monitoring.
3. How long does a DUI stay on my record?
- A DUI conviction will be noted on your permanent, public criminal record FOREVER. This means it will be there for all of your days and into life eternal. It can be seen by anyone who checks your background (e.g. employers, loan officers, insurance companies, even your next door neighbor). That is why fighting a DUI is a must.
4. What is a Nolo Contendere plea in DUI?
- A Nolo Contendere, or No Contest plea, is the functional equivalent of pleading guilty. Even though you are not technically admitting guilt, you will be convicted of DUI and face the same penalties.
5. If I have a drunk driving conviction in another state, will it show up alongside a DUI charge in PA?
- Yes. The National Driver Registry and other state, local and federal databases such as the NCIC and PSP Clean integrate with one another. In the day and age of the internet, there is no escaping your past.
6. If I’m licensed in another state, but arrested for DUI in PA, will I be charged in PA or my home state?
- If the driving happened in PA, you will be charged in Pennsylvania. You will have to answer for it in the Pennsylvania court system. Although you live in another state, you cannot transfer the charges to your home state. If you are convicted, Pennsylvania is required to send notice of your DUI arrest to your state. In terms of your driver’s license, your state will proceed according to its own DUI laws in terms of how long the suspension is. The McShane Firm has a network of the very best DUI attorneys all over the US. We will refer you a qualified DUI attorney in your home state. Contact us for more info.
7. Do I need a DUI attorney for a preliminary hearing if I just want to go to trial?
- Yes. An attorney can help get your case dismissed or the charges reduced before trial. Moreover, the preliminary hearing is often the battleground for the entire case. If we can frame the evidence against you in a way that weakens the prosecution early on, there may be no trial later. Waiving a DUI is infrequently a great decision.
- Additional recommended reading: DUI Trial Procedure
8. I refused the blood test or breath test during my arrest. What does that mean?
- The government will charge you with a DUI. Plus, you will face a loss of license if you are a Pennsylvania License holder. However, if you challenge and win the License Suspension Appeal hearing, you will not be suspended. If you are licensed out of state, you will lose you privilege to drive in PA if you are not successful at challenging the License Suspension Appeal. PennDOT will send a notice for you to surrender your license. There are very strict guidelines of when you must file a license suspension appeal. So don’t wait as it might be too late.
9. Will I get a harsher sentence if I go to trial and am convicted?
- No. DUI penalties in PA are the same whether you plead guilty immediately or go to trial.
10. Should I go to driving school now?
- No. Don’t do anything until you consult with an experienced, qualified Pennsylvania DUI attorney. Why do anything you don’t have to?
11. How much will this all cost?
- The cost of an experienced, qualified DUI attorney is often less than the cost of pleading guilty when you consider the fines, traffic school, loss of license, increased insurance rates, and time lost from work.
- Additional recommended reading: DUI Lawyer Costs
12. If I fight the case and lose, will I get my legal fees back?
- No. The Pennsylvania Bar prohibits contingency fees for criminal cases such as DUI.
13. Aren’t all DUI lawyers the same?
- No. Far from it. The attorneys at The McShane Firm are DUI specialists. We are not a one man show. We have 8 dedicated attorneys. With 23 dedicated staff, we are the biggest. With decades of years of courtroom experience and advanced training in all aspects of DUI law, including the latest in forensic science, no one can compare. We have the knowledge and experience necessary to defend you against the state’s experts and protect your rights, your reputation and your freedom.
- Additional recommended reading: Pennsylvania DUI Attorneys
14. When can I contact you?
- Our attorneys are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at . Contact us today for your free initial consultation and put Pennsylvania’s most experienced DUI lawyers to work for you.
Thank you for reading our Pennsylvania DUI FAQ.
Got a DUI question not answered here?
Contact us today for an honest answer from one of Pennsylvania’s most highly-trained and experienced DUI lawyers.
Additional recommended reading about PA DUI:
Justin McShane and his entire staff made me feel like they took my case personally and really cared about a suitable outcome of my case. All my calls and questions and emails were answered very quickly. I would highly recommend The McShane Firm for any representation.
The best of the best in DUI cases. Worth every penny. 8 years later and I still can’t thank you guys enough.