1520 Locust Street, Suite 700
Philadelphia, PA 19102

215.665.1695

Drunk Driving / DUI

Driving Under the Influence (DUI) is a very common charge. Every night, many people on the street in and around Philadelphia are pulled over. Some are coming in from hard days at work and some may have had a few drinks — in some cases, one or two too many. They will be asked to perform DUI tests, and be forced to choose between the civil penalties they face if they exercise their right to refuse and the possibility of offering flawed evidence against themselves.

A DUI has the potential to seriously disrupt your life. But an experienced attorney can help fight the charges.

Philadelphia DUI Lawyer

If you face charges of Driving Under the Influence, a tough DUI lawyer in Philadelphia can fight at your side. Our defense attorneys can challenge the prosecution's evidence and seek to have DUI charges against you dismissed. They can represent you at all legal proceedings that may occur due to an alleged DUI, including civil hearings on your right to continue driving with a license. Call Alva & Shuttleworth, LLC today at (215) 665-1695 to schedule a consultation.

We represent those accused of DUI throughout Pennsylvania and the Philadelphia area, including in Chester County, Bucks County, Montgomery County and Delaware County. We also represent clients in New Jersey.


Pennsylvania DUI Information Center


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DUI Basics for Pennsylvania Drivers

It is illegal to drive, operate or be in actual physical control of a motor vehicle if one is under the influence of alcohol or drugs to the extent that his or her ability to drive safely is impaired (75 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 3802).

If your blood-alcohol content is at or above .08 within two hours of driving, you are automatically considered to have been driving while intoxicated, even if you did not exhibit any unsafe driving behavior. This is called "per se" intoxication. You can still be arrested, charged and convicted of drunk driving if your BAC was below .08.

There are higher penalties for higher BACs. If you are accused of having a BAC above .1, you could face charges of High BAC DUI. If above .16, twice the legal limit, you could face Highest BAC DUI.

You can also be charged with a DUI for drugs. You are considered per se intoxicated if the prosecution can prove you were under the influence of any Schedule I drug, or any Schedule II or III drug that was not prescribed to you. Those drugs include marijuana, heroin, cocaine, LSD and meth. If prosecutors can prove you were under the influence of any controlled substance, including prescription medication, to the extent to which you could not safely drive, they can convict you of DUI with drugs.


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Heightened Requirements for Some Philadelphia Drivers

If you drive a commercial vehicle, you may be convicted of a DUI if your BAC is at or above .04. If you drive a school vehicle or school bus, you could face charges if accused of a BAC above .02. Commercial and school drivers could also lose their jobs after a DUI. You will be disqualified from holding a Commercial Driver's License (CDL) for a year after being convicted of a DUI.

Anyone younger than 21 may also face DUI charges if accused of having a BAC about .02.


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Punishment for Pennsylvania DUIs

Punishment for any DUI can range from jail time to fines to mandatory treatment programs and other measures. You could also be required to have an ignition interlock device installed on your vehicle, which will require you to breath into the device and provide a clean sample before starting your car.

The higher your BAC and the more DUI convictions on your record, the worse penalties you might face. Even if this is your first offense, it's in your best interests to hire a Philadelphia criminal defense lawyer to keep your record clean.

DUI, BAC .08 - .1

First Offense

  • Up to 6 months of probation
  • Up to $300 fine
  • Alcohol highway safety school
  • Alcohol treatment

Second Offense

  • Driver's license suspended for up to one year
  • Ignition interlock device for up to a year
  • 5 days – 6 months of jail time
  • $300 - $2,500 fine
  • Alcohol treatment

Third or Subsequent Offense

  • Driver's license suspended for up to one year
  • Ignition interlock device for up to a year
  • 10 days to 2 years of jail time
  • $500 - $5,000 fine
  • Mandatory alcohol treatment

High BAC DUI (BAC .1 - .16)

First Offense

  • Driver's license suspended for up to one year
  • $500 - $5,000 fine
  • Alcohol highway safety school
  • Alcohol treatment

Second Offense

  • Automatic one-year driver's license suspension
  • Ignition interlock device for up to a year
  • 30 days to 6 months of jail time
  • $750 - $5,000 fine
  • Alcohol highway safety school
  • Alcohol treatment

Third Offense

  • Automatic 18-month driver's license suspension
  • Ignition interlock device for up to a year
  • 90 days – 5 years of jail time
  • $1,500 - $10,000 fine
  • Alcohol treatment

Fourth Offense

  • Automatic 18-month license suspension
  • Ignition interlock device for up to a year
  • 1 to 5 years of jail time
  • $1,500 - $10,000 fine
  • Alcohol treatment

Highest BAC DUI (BAC At or Above .16)

First Offense

  • Driver's license suspended for up to one year
  • 72 hours to 6 months in jail
  • $500 - $5,000 fine
  • Alcohol highway safety school
  • Alcohol treatment

Second Offense

  • Automatic 18-month driver's license suspension
  • Ignition interlock device for up to a year
  • 90 days to 5 years of jail time
  • $1,500 - $10,000 fine
  • Alcohol highway safety school
  • Alcohol treatment

Third Offense

  • Automatic 18-month driver's license suspension
  • Ignition interlock device for up to a year
  • 1-5 years of jail time
  • $2,500 - $10,000 fine
  • Alcohol treatment

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DUI Testing and Refusal

If pulled over and suspected of DUI, you may be asked to perform a DUI test. Police may utilize the Intoxilyzer 5000EN, a device commonly known as a breathalyzer that tests the breath for alcohol content. They can also do field sobriety tests, or take you to have a urine or blood test. You are considered per se intoxicated if your BAC is .08 or more within two hours of driving, meaning police usually have two hours after pulling you over to take the test.

It is your constitutional right to refuse the test, although police may obtain a warrant for a blood test. However, if ultimately convicted, penalties increase dramatically. For a first offense, you have a minimum 72 hours in jail and your license is revoked for a year.

Testing positive for alcohol does not always mean a guilty verdict — at Alva & Shuttleworth, LLC, we may be able to challenge the results on several grounds. But if the evidence never existed, it might make your case considerably better.

Refusing DUI testing can have serious consequences in the form of civil penalties. It is true that, if you refuse a breath test and police fail to get a warrant for other testing, you may escape criminal penalties by denying critical evidence to the prosecution. However, by getting a license in Pennsylvania, you are giving "implied consent" to DUI testing. Thus, if you refuse a chemical test, including a breath test, then your license will be suspended for a year.

When pulled a driver over and ask for a DUI test, they must give a warning, called an "O'Connell warning" after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court case that led to the requirement. The warning is that the suspect does not have a right to remain silent for testing — unlike Miranda warnings, which are for an arrest — and that refusal to test will lead to an administrative license suspension.

However, within 30 days of the receiving a letter notifying you of the suspension, you can request a hearing, where your DUI defense attorney can question whether the officer had reasonable cause to pull you over, whether the officer read you your O'Connell warnings, or about other procedural matters, and may have your suspension overturned.


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Alva & Shuttleworth, LLC | DUI Lawyer in Pennsylvania

A DUI may be common, but it's a serious thing. You could lose your license, pay hefty fines and even spend time in jail. A Philly DUI lawyer can help you fight the charges, challenging evidence and seeking to have the drunk driving charges against you dropped. At Alva & Shuttleworth, LLC, we can represent you in any proceedings that may come out of a DUI arrest, but it's important to act quickly. Call us today at (215) 665-1695 to schedule a consultation.

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