According to state police, DUI arrests increased in Pennsylvania by ten percent in 2019. In that year, police made 22,139 DUI arrests, compared with 20,143 in 2018. To combat the rise in drivers under the influence, state police are preparing DUI prevention campaigns at schools, public events, and in businesses. The campaigns are important, as they focus on the dangers of drunk driving. However, it is just as important that anyone charged with this offense understands the many myths out there surrounding these charges, and the truth behind them.
I Do Not have Any Rights if Stopped for a DUI
If law enforcement pulls you over for a suspected DUI, or even charges you with the offense, you still have many rights. Like in all arrests, you have the right to remain silent, the right to an attorney, and the right to be protected from an unreasonable search of your vehicle. It is important to know these rights so you can hold law enforcement responsible for upholding them.
Jail is Mandatory for all DUI Convictions
Although there is mandatory sentencing for DUI convictions in Pennsylvania, it does not mean that you will automatically go to jail if you are convicted. In fact, if it is your first offense, there is a very good chance that you will not go to jail. Within the state criminal justice system, there are several programs available that can help you avoid jail time.
I Have to Submit to a Field Sobriety Test
There are three main field sobriety tests an officer may ask you to perform if you are pulled over for a DUI. These are meant to test your coordination, balance, and vision. It is crucial to understand that these tests are highly subjective and that you are under no legal obligation to submit to them, nor should you.
I Can Refuse a Chemical Test if I am Pulled Over
Unlike field sobriety tests, Pennsylvania’s implied consent law requires you to submit to a chemical test, if asked. This may include a breathalyzer at the side of the road, or a blood test taken at a hospital or at the police station. If you refuse to take either of these tests, you will lose your driver’s license for at least one year, even if you are not convicted.
I Do Not Need a Pennsylvania DUI Lawyer
Many people think they do not need a Philadelphia DUI lawyer for many reasons. For some, they think that they will only receive a slap on the wrist, while others do not think there is any defense because they were caught red-handed. Neither of these are always true and if you have been charged, you should always speak to a DUI attorney.
At van der Veen, Hartshorn and Levin, our attorneys have the necessary experience to craft a solid defense for your case. We understand the criminal justice system, and how to give you the best chance of getting the charges reduced, or beating them altogether. Call us today at (215) 486-0123 or contact us online to schedule a consultation with one of our knowledgeable attorneys.