DUI Put 50 Years of Combined Experience in Your Corner

Harrisburg DUI Lawyer

Providing Expert Legal Representation in Cumberland County for Over 31 Years

If you have recently been charged with drinking while driving, you are most likely feeling extremely confused and stressed, whether this is your first arrest or not. This feeling of anxiety is highly warranted if you do not have capable Harrisburg DUI lawyers by your side.

In the state of Pennsylvania, law enforcement officials have been increasingly clamping down on DUI offenders, even for their first time. In order to set an example for other drivers, convictions for driving under the influence have become especially harsh, and the resulting consequences are severe and long-lasting. You could face fines costing you thousands of dollars on top of losing your driver’s license, and you could even be forced to serve time in jail. Count on our reliable team at the Law Offices of Patrick F. Lauer for advice you can count on in difficult times.

Contact us now at (717) 775-6110 to benefit from dedicated advocacy from our determined DUI attorneys in Harrisburg.

Pennsylvania Laws on Felony & Misdemeanor DUI

A DUI in Pennsylvania is usually a misdemeanor. Under the Pennsylvania Act 153 of 2018, the law that establishes Pennsylvania’s felony DUI offense, a DUI may be charged as a felony in some situations. You may be charged with a felony DUI when you have three prior convictions for a DUI at any level within the last 10 years. If you have two prior DUI convictions within the past 10 years and had a minor under the age of 18 in your car, you can also be charged with a felony DUI. This is when your BAC is at least twice the legal limit of 0.08%.

What Are the Penalties for General Impairment?

As of 2004, the state of Pennsylvania created the law of Act 24. This altered the current laws for driving under the influence to correlate with federal laws across the country. Simultaneously, the blood alcohol content threshold, known as BAC, was set to be .08, which allowed Pennsylvania to keep benefitting from highway funds offered by the federal government. The result of this change was that drunk-driving offenses received harsher penalties.

If any person was found to have a BAC ranging from .08 to .099%, or even if their BAC was unable to be determined, they would have to suffer the following consequences:

  • Serving probation for up to 6 months, rendering a fine of $300, and completing highway safety school, if you have had 0 prior DUI charges.
  • Serving in jail for up to 6 months, rendering a fine up to $2500, losing your license for a year, and completing highway safety school, if you have had 1 prior DUI charge. You might also need to have an ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle for a year.
  • Serving in jail for up to 2 years, rendering a fine up to $5,000, losing your license for a year, and completing highway safety school, if you have had at least 2 prior DUI charges. You will likely also be required to have an ignition interlock installed for a year, as well as receive treatment.

How Long Does a DUI Stay on Your Record in PA?

In Pennsylvania, a DUI will stay on your record for life unless it is expunged or given limited access relief. Because your conviction is a matter of public record, it will be reflected in your criminal background and credit records as well as your insurance and driver’s license history.

If you receive a DUI conviction in Pennsylvania, the state will update your record in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) National Driver Register to reflect the details of your offense. Consequently, any time a potential employer, landlord, car rental agency, or insurance company requests a background check or credit report, it will see the details of your conviction.

Fighting a DUI Conviction in Pennsylvania

In their zealous desire to catch drunk drivers, police officers have been known to arrest drivers whose BAC concentrations were under the limit. Moreover, BAC tests have been known to fail, sometimes mistakenly marking someone as having a high alcohol concentration even if they had not been drinking that day. No matter the scenario, you deserve to have your case fairly investigated. Trust our team to defend your legal options no matter what.

A Right Solution for Your Future

Receiving a DUI conviction is a highly serious matter that can have extremely damaging consequences. In the short term, you may have to go to jail and pay exorbitant fines, in addition to losing your right to drive. In the long run, costly fines and a lack of transportation can in turn affect your ability to hold on to your job or pay a mortgage. Fortunately, there is a way to take action before it is too late. Get in touch with us at the Law Offices of Patrick F. Lauer so that our DUI attorneys in Cumberland County can find the right solution for your situation.

Call us today at (717) 775-6110 or contact us online and our criminal defense attorneys can begin working on your case immediately.

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How Do Breath Tests Differ from Blood Tests in a DUI Case?

Although officers use breath tests to measure drivers’ blood alcohol levels, the results can vary from actual blood tests. People in Pennsylvania who have been pulled over on suspicion of drinking and driving will often be asked to submit to a roadside breath test. Law enforcement officers in the state use these devices to help them determine whether the driver of the vehicle is actually intoxicated.

The machines give officers a blood alcohol content reading that is supposed to be comparable to the BAC reading officers would get from an actual blood test. Yet the accuracy of breath tests has come under fire as multiple studies show that the blood alcohol content levels calculated from breath test machines are not equivalent to those obtained from blood tests.

In fact, researchers at the State University of New York at Potsdam found that the BAC results obtained from a breath test device can vary by as much as 15 percent when compared to the BAC reading from a blood test.

How Do Blood Alcohol Levels Tests Work?

Blood tests measure the concentration of ethyl alcohol contained in the blood directly from a blood sample. Breath tests, on the other hand, determine the driver’s blood-alcohol level by detecting the presence of alcohol found in the driver’s exhaled breath sample. The machine then converts the breath alcohol content to a blood alcohol content.

Anyone found driving with a BAC level of 0.08 percent or higher in Pennsylvania runs the risk of getting charged with DUI.

Factors That Affect Breath Test Devices

The problem stems from the fact that breath test devices detect more than just ethyl alcohol groups. There are other substances in the environment and in the body that can alter breath test readings.

These include the following:

  • Gasoline, paint remover and cleaning fluid fumes.
  • Dirt, tobacco smoke and moisture in the air.
  • Residual vomit, food or blood in the subject’s mouth.
  • Electrical interference from police scanners, radios and cellphones.

In one study, a subject spent 20 minutes spray painting a room and was then given both a blood test and a breath test to determine the BAC level. Surprisingly, the breath test showed that the subject’s BAC level was .075 percent, which is close to the legal limit. The blood test, however, indicated that there was no alcohol present in the test subject’s system.

Upholding Your Rights

If you have been charged with DUI, then you may feel overwhelmed at the thought of paying multiple fines and losing your driver’s license. Furthermore, you may be required to use an ignition interlock device on your vehicle and you might have problems finding a job in certain industries. A criminal defense attorney in Pennsylvania who has experience in DUI cases may be able to help you explore your legal options and defend your rights in court.

If you are facing DUI charges, contact our firm today to get started on your case.

Protecting the Rights of People from All Walks of Life

Get to Know Us to See What Sets Us Apart
  • More Than 50 Years of Combined Experience
  • Board Certified for More Than 25 Years
  • More Than 200 Jury Trials & 40,000 Preliminary Hearings
  • Never Lost a Sex Case or Murder Case at Trial
  • Certified in Field Sobriety Testing
  • Exceptional Experience in All Breath Testing Equipment

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