A DUI or DWI conviction and the corresponding penalties can have a profound negative impact on a person’s life and the lives of those that they care about. The best, and most obvious, way to avoid a DUI conviction is to simply not drink and drive. However, if you find yourself being subjected to a DUI related vehicle stop in Pennsylvania, here is some information regarding a few of your important rights.
Police officers always need a reason to stop you in the first place. Some of the more common reasons are:
- Traffic law violations
- Invalid registration and tags
- Problems with your car such as broken lights or signals
- Improper window tinting
- DUI checkpoints
- You have the right to remain silent under the Pennsylvania and U.S. Constitution. This means if a police officer asks you any questions regarding your consumption of alcohol, medications, or drug use you are not required to answer.
- A police officer has the right to ask you to get out of the car. However, once you comply and exit the car you may refuse to take any Field Sobriety Tests.
- Additionally, you have the right to refuse to take any roadside Portable Breath Test. The Portable Breath Tester is a hand held device used by police as a preliminary test at the scene of a vehicle stop.
- After you are placed under arrest for DUI, the police can ask you to submit to an official breath, blood, or urine test. You are not absolutely required you to submit to this form of testing. However, if you refuse to provide a sample after you have been arrested, Pennsylvania law requires an automatic suspension of your driver’s license for 6, 12, or 18 months depending upon certain circumstances.
If you or someone you know are charged with DUI or similar crimes, choosing the right Philadelphia DUI attorney is essential. You should immediately contact a lawyer who has experience with criminal DUI defense in Pennsylvania. Changes in the law over the last decade have lowered the blood alcohol level that renders you “drunk”, made the job of plice easier and raised the penalties for DUI and refusing to participate in testing. Mike Parkinson, Tim Tarpey and Jim Lloyd are criminal defense attorneys and former Philadelphia Assistant District Attorneys with more than 40 years experience who have handled hundreds of DUI cases. Talk to an experienced attorney before you face the possibility of imprisonment, loss of your license, and increased insurance rates.
If you or someone you know has questions regarding DUI charges in Philadelphia, Montgomery, Bucks, or Delaware Counties, contact us for a free consultation with an experienced criminal defense attorney at (215) 352-3432.