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Have You Been Charged With Your First DUI? Here's What You Should Know

Posted by Joseph D. Lento | Dec 27, 2018 | 0 Comments

Some states categorize driving under the influence (DUI) as a traffic violation. But states like Pennsylvania crack down on DUI offenders by making it a criminal offense. This means that even the first time you make a mistake, you may be facing harsh repercussions with little leniency. If you've been charged with this crime, it's in your best interest to immediately hire an attorney. Too much is at stake to not have a criminal defense attorney in your corner. But to truly understand the gravity of a DUI conviction, you need information. I'll provide you with everything you need to know about your charges, potential consequences, and legal representation in this article.

Elements That Will Affect Your Sentence

A drug and/or alcohol DUI conviction results in a tough set of criminal penalties, even for the first time. A person could have a clean driving record with no criminal history, and a judge may still feel inclined to impose harsh legal penalties, depending on the circumstances. The severity of your sentence will be based on a number of factors, including:

  • Your age
  • Your level of impairment
  • The amount of property damage, if any
  • The age of the passengers in the car with you at the time of arrest
  • Your status as a commercial driver, if applicable

If you refused to take a chemical test, this is known as a violation of Pennsylvania's implied consent law. This refusal will also be considered by a judge and may lead to additional penalties.

Legal Penalties

All first-time DUIs are a misdemeanor offense. The penalties imposed for this crime are traditionally classified according to your blood alcohol content (BAC) level. They're grouped as follows:

General impairment (0.08% - 0.099%)

  • Sentence: Up to six months of probation
  • Fine: $300
  • License Suspension: None
  • Other: Highway safety school, drug and alcohol treatment if ordered

High BAC (0.10% - 0.159%)

  • Sentence: Up to six months in jail
  • Fine: $500 - $5,000
  • License Suspension: One year
  • Other: Highway safety school, drug and alcohol treatment if ordered

Highest BAC (0.16% and higher)

  • Sentence: Up to six months in jail
  • Fine: $1,000 - $5,000
  • License Suspension: One year
  • Other: Highway safety school, drug and alcohol treatment if ordered

It's important to note that these penalties may be increased if any of the elements mentioned up above come into play in your case.

Effects On Employment and Insurance

Outside of the penalties imposed by the criminal justice system are additional repercussions that you should be aware of. Because a DUI conviction indicates a criminal history, it'll show up in a background check. DUIs have a strong social stigma that may make employers reluctant to hire you.

To your insurance provider, a DUI conviction makes you a high-risk driver. As a result, your auto insurance rates may go up quite a bit. Also, the majority of insurance policies refuse to cover damages arising from the commission of a drunk driving offense.

You Need An Attorney

Even a first-time DUI offense can have a significant impact on your finances, your livelihood, and your opportunities. This is why they should always be taken seriously. With such high stakes, don't hesitate to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney to help you get the best possible outcome.

Pennsylvania criminal defense attorney Joseph D. Lento has helped many of this clients get reduced sentences and dismissed DUI charges due to this skill, expertise, and experience. He can do the same for you. Contact him today.

About the Author

Joseph D. Lento

"I pride myself on having heart and driving hard to get results!" Joseph D. Lento has more than a decade of experience fighting for the futures of his clients in criminal courtrooms in Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania counties, as well as New Jersey. He does not settle for the easiest outcome, and instead prioritizes his clients' needs and well-being.

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Attorney Joseph D. Lento has more than a decade of experience successfully resolving clients' criminal charges in Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania counties. If you are having any uncertainties about what the future may hold for you or a loved one, contact the Lento Law Firm today! Criminal defense attorney Joseph D. Lento will go above and beyond the needs of any client, and will fight until the final bell rings.

This website was created only for general information purposes. It is not intended to be construed as legal advice for any situation. Only a direct consultation with a licensed Pennsylvania and New Jersey attorney can provide you with formal legal counsel based on the unique details surrounding your situation. The pages on this website may contain links and contact information for third party organizations – the Lento Law Firm does not necessarily endorse these organizations nor the materials contained on their website. In Pennsylvania, Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout Pennsylvania's 67 counties, including, but not limited to Philadelphia, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, Berks, Lancaster, Lehigh, and Northampton County. In New Jersey, attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout New Jersey's 21 counties: Atlantic, Bergen, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Essex, Gloucester, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Salem, Somerset, Sussex, Union, and Warren County, Outside of Pennsylvania and New Jersey, unless attorney Joseph D. Lento is admitted pro hac vice if needed, his assistance is educational advice, and does not constitute legal advice or the practice of law. The decision to hire an attorney in Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania counties, New Jersey, or nationwide should not be made solely on the strength of an advertisement. We invite you to contact the Lento Law Firm directly to inquire about our specific qualifications and experience. Communicating with the Lento Law Firm by email, phone, or fax does not create an attorney-client relationship. The Lento Law Firm will serve as your official legal counsel upon a formal agreement from both parties. Any information sent to the Lento Law Firm before an attorney-client relationship is made is done on a non-confidential basis.

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