What Are The Penalties For a First Offense DUI in Pittsburgh?

Getting your first offense DUI in Pittsburgh is often a nerve-wracking experience, with consequences taking a toll on your personal freedom and bank account. While the penalties can be severe, an experienced Pittsburgh DUI attorney can help soften the blow.

The penalties for your first offense DUI will vary depending on your blood alcohol level and prior criminal history. Those with a higher BAC range will experience harsher penalties than those with a lower BAC range. These penalties can range from hefty fines to criminal penalties such as incarceration or probation.

If you’ve recently been arrested for a first offense DUI in Pittsburgh, these are the most common penalties that you may endure.

Refusal to Submit DUI Testing (Breath or Blood Test)

When you’re pulled over by a police officer in Pittsburgh for drunk driving, you will be asked to take a test to determine whether or not you should be charged with a DUI. After your arrest, this test is conducted via breathalyzer at the police station or through a blood draw at a local hospital.

By refusing a blood test for a First Offense DUI, you will lose your license for 12 months, even if you are found not guilty of DUI. If you are admitted into the ARD program on a refusal case, you will lose your license for 12 months, plus an additional suspension ranging from 0-60 days depending on your BAC range.

Why Am I Being Charged With a Refusal When I Blew Into a Handheld Device?

Portable Breath Test (PBT) for DUI

Portable Breath Test (PBT) for DUI

A portable breath test (PBT) is a handheld device used by police at the location of your traffic stop to determine if there is alcohol present in your system. The PBT does not count as a formal BAC test, as the result is not admissible in a court of law. Even if you submit to a PBT test, you must still submit to a breath test at the station, or you will be charged with a refusal.

First Offense DUI: Mandatory Jail Time

If you are charged only with a General Impairment Offense, or your BAC range is between a .08-.099%, you are facing a mandatory sentence of 6 months of probation.

If your BAC range is between a .10-.159%, you are facing a mandatory sentence of 48 hours in jail. If your BAC range is a .16% or above, or if you have refused testing, you are facing a 72-hour mandatory minimum jail sentence.

First Offense DUI: Mandatory License Suspensions

For a General Impairment offense, or if your BAC range is between a .08-.099%, your license will not be suspended. If your BAC range is a .10% or above, you will lose your license for 12 months. However, if your attorney negotiates your entry into the ARD program, your license suspension may be reduced to 0-60 days.

First Offense DUI: Probation

In Pennsylvania, those who are arrested with a first offense DUI will serve 6 months of probation. If your attorney negotiates your entry into the ARD program, then your ARD probation can range from 6 months up to 24 months in length.

First Offense DUI: Fines

If you are charged with a first offense DUI in Pittsburgh, you’re subject to a fine of $300 if your BAC range is between .08 and .099. Those with a BAC range of .10 to .159 can pay fines ranging anywhere from $500 to $1,000. The highest tier will pay a minimum fine of $1,000 and a maximum fine of $5,000.

Can I get ARD? 

The Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition program, known as ARD, can help you avoid having a criminal record for your 1st DUI offense. Whether or not you are offered admission into the program is at the sole discretion of the District Attorney's Office who is prosecuting your case. To improve your chances of gaining admission into the ARD program, contact a Pittsburgh DUI Lawyer immediately. 

The Influence of Prior Convictions on Your First Offense DUI

Depending on your criminal history, the court has the discretion to give you a sentence that is longer than the mandatory minimum. Your prior criminal history may prevent you from being eligible for the ARD program.

First Offense DUI: Auto Accident

Getting into an auto accident as a result of your First Offense DUI can have serious ramifications. You will be required to pay restitution to reimburse an accident victim for any vehicle damages or medical bills that are not covered by your auto insurance. An accident victim may also object to you receiving a favorable plea agreement from the District Attorney.

If you seriously injure another person, you can face severe charges such as Aggravated Assault While DUI, Recklessly Endangering Another Person, and related offenses. You will also be denied entry into the ARD program.

Having a Child in the Car?

If you had a child in your vehicle who is under the age of 14, you will not be allowed to enter the ARD program.

Getting a Pittsburgh DUI Attorney For Your First Offense DUI

While DUI charges are rarely reduced in Pennsylvania, you can still work toward a dismissal or negotiate a favorable plea agreement. Our firm works to obtain access to ARD for clients. The Zuckerman Law Firm has experienced, first offense DUI attorneys that can help handle your case. Contact our firm today at 412-447-5580 for your free consultation.