By Your Side Through Life's Legal Challenges

Frequently Asked Questions About DUI Charges In Pennsylvania

1. Is a DUI arrest something like a major traffic ticket?

It is more accurate to think of a DUI case as a criminal matter that may also affect the status of your driver’s license.

2. What does DUI mean?

Driving under the influence can include driving under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances. In the typical DUI case, a chemical test (usually blood) would be administered and the results are utilized to determine the concentration of alcohol or controlled substance is within one’s blood.

3. How does a DUI case usually start?

The typical beginning of a DUI case may be:

  • A traffic stop during which a police officer suspects you are driving while impaired as a result of alcohol or drugs.
  • Special circumstances such as the aftermath of a crash on a street or highway, or after a boating accident when you were at the helm.

Beware: Even if you are already stopped — that is, parked in a parking lot, in a driveway or by the side of the road — and you are under the influence or alcohol or a controlled substance, depending upon the circumstances, an officer may believe that you could be charged with DUI. Therefore, if you have been drinking, it is advisable not to sit or sleep in your car.

4. What kinds of field sobriety tests and chemical tests are common during traffic stops on suspicion of DUI?

Field sobriety tests are typically performance tests that a police officer uses to obtain evidence that you may have been driving while intoxicated. Typical nonchemical tests include:

  • “Walk the line”
  • Horizontal gaze
  • Stand on one leg
  • Verbal performance tests such as reciting the alphabet backward

Chemical tests may involve measurement of alcohol and/or controlled substances in your body through:

  • Breath
  • Blood
  • Urine

5. What does blood alcohol concentration (BAC) mean?

BAC refers to the percentage of alcohol in your blood. It is a measure used to verify the likelihood of impairment and justify driving under the influence or alcohol charges.

6. What happens if a driver refuses to take a chemical test?

If the request by the officer is warranted, refusal to take a chemical test may adversely affect your driving privileges. Refusing to take a chemical test may also lead to more severe penalties in the event there is a conviction. One may have to pay a greater fine, serve a longer jail sentence and serve a greater license suspension. Refusing to take a chemical test, when properly warranted, will lead to an additional one-year license suspension by itself regardless of whether there is a conviction for driving under the influence of alcohol.

7. I drive a truck for a living. Should I worry about a DUI that occurs while I’m driving my own car during my time off?

Yes, you should take any DUI charge very seriously, whether you were driving a commercial vehicle or your private car when you were arrested. The outcome of your case may put your commercial driver’s license (CDL) at risk. Your need for legal counsel is urgent if you have been accused of drunk driving.

8. When should I call a lawyer?

As soon as possible! The earlier you have an attorney advising you, the greater options you will have for the best results attainable in your case.

For Answers To Your Additions To Our DUI FAQ

Serving York County and beyond, Griest, Himes, Herrold, Reynosa LLP invites you to add to our frequently asked questions with your own concerns. Call us at 717-900-5677 or contact us online to schedule a consultation at your earliest convenience.