Answers To Frequently Asked Questions About DUI From A Top Defense Attorney
We can provide you with answers to some basic questions about drunk driving on our website. If you are charged with a DUI, you should only rely on legal advice from an attorney.
If your question is not answered here, we encourage you to call our office at to schedule a free consultation with our lawyer. We accept cases in Cumberland County, surrounding areas including Harrisburg, and across Pennsylvania.
Q: What is DUI?
A: DUI is an abbreviation for driving under the influence. You can be found guilty of DUI if you drive or if you are in physical control of a motor vehicle and you are under the influence of alcohol or any controlled substance to the extent that you are physically or mentally impaired. A DUI per se occurs when your blood alcohol level (BAC) is above the legal limit of .08.
• See Pennsylvania DUI Penalties
Q: Does my vehicle have to be a car to be charged with DUI?
A: No. You can be charged with DUI for operating any motor vehicle while under the influence, this includes boats, motorcycles, planes and even helicopters.
Q: Does the car have to be moving for me to be guilty of DUI?
A: No. You do not need to have actually operated the car in order to be arrested. Believe it or not, you can still be found guilty of a DUI if you had the capability and opportunity to operate the vehicle. It does not matter if you exercised that capability or opportunity at the time of the arrest. In other words, you can be charged with a DUI for sitting behind the wheel of your car with the keys in the ignition.
Q: Should I refuse to submit to the chemical testing?
A: No. If the police officer requests that you give a breath or blood sample, it is always in your best interest to comply. Refusing to submit to chemical testing will result in an automatic one-year license suspension. Even if you are not drunk and you can win your case, your license will still be suspended for one year because of the chemical test refusal.
It is easier to fight the results of a chemical test in court than it is to avoid the one-year license suspension for refusing to submit to chemical testing!
See: What to do if I’m pulled over.
Q: What is the officer looking for during the initial detention at the scene?
A: Police officers are trained to note the following “symptoms of intoxication” on their report:
- Red, watery, glassy and/or bloodshot eyes
- Odor of alcohol on breath
- Slurred speech
- Flushed face
- Failure to comprehend the officer’s questions
- Staggering when exiting vehicle/stumbling while walking
- Fumbling with wallet
- Swaying/instability on feet
- Using car to support oneself, like a crutch
- Combative, argumentative, jovial or other “inappropriate” attitude
- Disorientation as to time and place
- Inability to follow directions
Q: If the police officer asks if I have been drinking, should I stay silent?
A: YES. Your answer will be a significant factor in the police officer’s decision to arrest you. If you say yes, then the prosecutor will use that statement in court to prove that you were driving under the influence of alcohol.
Q: What is “blood alcohol concentration” or “blood alcohol level”?
A: Blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is the level of alcohol in the bloodstream from drinking alcoholic beverages. The BAC readings will be used in court as evidence against you in drunk driving cases. There a few methods used to test what your BAC is. The most common method is the breath test. There are some technical issues with breath test machines, so sometimes officers will instead request you to submit blood or urine.
Q: I won my court case, but my license was still suspended! Why?
A: There are two ways to have your license suspended regardless of if you are convicted of DUI.
- Refusing to submit to chemical testing
- Being guilty of a per se DUI (BAC of .08 or more)
Q: How can the Law Offices of Patrick F. Lauer, Jr. LLC, help me?
A: As experienced attorneys, we can do many things to challenge and disprove the evidence, we can safeguard your rights and we can argue your case in court.
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