Pennsylvania DUI FAQ

First Five Things to Do

The following is a list of some of the most common questions about DUI in Pennsylvania and the answers you’ll need to make the smartest decisions to protect your license, your future, and your freedom.

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.
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 ranging from 3 days to 60 months depending on your BAC, prior record, license type, and whether your case involves an injury, accident, or death.
3. How long does a DUI stay on my record?
A DUI conviction will be noted on your permanent, public criminal record, which means it will be there forever and can be seen by anyone who checks your background (e.g. employers, loan officers, insurance companies, etc.)
4. What is a Nolo Contendere plea?
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?
6. If I’m licensed in another state, but arrested for DUI in PA, will I be charged in PA or my home state?
Pennsylvania is required to send notice of your DUI arrest to your state, and your state will proceed according to its own DUI laws. The McShane Firm can refer you a qualified DUI attorney in any state in the US. 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.
8. I refused the breath test during my arrest. What does that mean?
You will be charged in the Highest Impairment tier and face the harshest penalties allowed under the law.
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. This will ensure that your rights are protected at every step in the process.
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. See our DUI Lawyer Costs article for more.
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. The attorneys at The McShane Firm are DUI specialists, with years of courtroom experience and advanced training in all aspects of DUI law, including the latest in forensic science. We have the knowledge and experience necessary to defend you against the state’s experts and protect your rights and your freedom.
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.

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.