DUI and Traffic Violations
Yes, a DUI or Traffic Ticket is serious.
Don’t pay the fine or plead Guilty without a lawyer’s advice!
Your ability to drive is a privilege, not a right. That privilege is governed by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT). It can be taken away for violating traffic laws. Did you know that certain traffic violations also result in license loss and and put your future at risk.
The Shaw Law Group has successfully represented scores of clients in DUI crimes and traffic courts in central Pennsylvania including but not limited to:
- Driving Under the Influence of alcohol or drugs
- Refusing to submit to chemical testing (mandatory license loss)
- Homicide by Vehicle (resulting in death)
- Leaving the scene of an accident (hit and run)
- Driving on a suspended or revoked license (punishable by jail)
- Traffic violations (punishable by jail)
- Reckless driving
Traffic Tickets (punishable by fines)
- Careless driving
- Traffic light and stop sign violations
- Failure to yield
- Illegal passing or passing a school bus
- Speeding in a school zone
Many alcohol related crimes can carry jail time and will appear on a criminal background check. Our attorneys are experienced at challenging the basis for the traffic stop and other evidence to avoid a conviction and all its consequences. We can also try to get violations reduced to a traffic citation.
Jail, Fines, and License Suspension for Pennsylvania DUI Convictions
Pennsylvania divides most DUI offenses into three categories for sentencing: “general impairment,” “high rate,” and “highest rate.” The penalties for a conviction also depend on how many prior convictions the driver has. Even a first time DUI can result in serious license loss and jail time. This penalty is enhanced if you have a minor passenger.
There are three tiers of penalties for DUI that are dependant upon your BAC and prior record. The complete list of penalties can be viewed HERE.
The prosecution has the burden of proving your specific alcohol content during your DUI case. We have a combined 50 years of experience handling these charges and having chemical test results removed from evidence. Our DUI team is experienced in all types of chemical testing in Pennsylvania, including blood tests, urine tests and breath tests. Pennsylvania has an implied consent law that states drivers in Pennsylvania consent to be given any of these tests simply for driving on the state’s roads and refusing to do so can result in serious license loss. The following are some, but not all, of the ways the Shaw Law Group may be able to help you.
Ways to fight a fight a DUI Charge in Pennsylvania
1. You Weren’t Actually Under the Influence of Alcohol while driving
The police consider several factors when deciding to pull someone over or make an arrest for drunk driving. They often cite drifting from side to side, failing to maintain a consistent speed, and running red lights and stop signs are considered common signs of drunk driving. The police will also often look for other signs such as having bloodshot eyes or a flushed appearance.
But, while these can all be signs that a driver is impaired, they aren’t necessarily signs of impairment nor or they signs of impairment for only DUI. You could be tired or having a medical emergency. If you weren’t actually driving under the influence, then you don’t deserve to be convicted of DUI.
2. You Weren’t In “Actual Physical Control” of Your Vehicle
Under Pennsylvania’s DUI statute, you can only be convicted of driving under the influence if you are in “actual physical control” of your vehicle. But what if the car was not on, or you were parked with the engine running at the time police encounter you. Were you in actual physical control? This analysis is not black and white and depends on a variety of factors the Shaw Law Group can spot and perhaps use to your advantage for this element.
3. Your Breath Test Result is Scientifically Unreliable
Any test showing your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is among the strongest pieces of evidence that prosecutors can have in a Pennsylvania DUI case. But, there are many ways to challenge a high BAC reading. Many issues can render a BAC reading unreliable, from medications and medical conditions to faulty calibration and improper test administration. The Shaw Law Group will review your test results looking for ways to call the reliability of your BAC reading into question. In many situations, we consult with an expert toxicologist to help your case.
4. Your Field Sobriety Test Results are Unreliable
Many issues can render field sobriety test (FST) results unreliable. The police officer’s failure to adequately explain the tests, improper interpretation of your performance, medical conditions, unstable shoes, an unstable road surface, and various other issues can all prevent prosecutors from using your FST results against you or at the least, call the results into doubt. The Shaw Law Group has extensive experience cross-examining law enforcement and exposing these weaknesses.
5. The Police Stopped You Without Reasonable Suspicion
To pull a driver over for DUI, the police must have “reasonable suspicion” that the driver is drunk behind the wheel. This requires more than a hunch or a guess. It also prevents the police from making traffic stops based on racial profiling.
If the police pulled you over without reasonable suspicion, then any evidence obtained subsequent to your traffic stop will be inadmissible in your DUI case. This includes your test results and any statements you may have made to the arresting officer. If prosecutors lose the incriminating evidence against you, they cannot proceed on your case.
6. The Police Conducted an Illegal Sobriety Checkpoint
Under Pennsylvania law, the police must adhere to very specific requirements when conducting a sobriety checkpoint. The Shaw Law Group can review the checkpoint to ascertaing whether it was constitutional. If not, your case may be dismissed.
7. The Police Arrested You Without Probable Cause
Even if the police stop you with reasonable suspicion or stop you at a legal sobriety checkpoint, they cannot arrest you unless they have “probable cause” to believe that you were driving under the influence. Probable cause is determined on a case-by-case basis. Judges, not police officers, are the ones who will ultimately decide whether or not an officer was behaving lawfully at the time of the search and arrest. The judge will examine all of the circumstances of the search and arrest, and a combination of known facts and circumstances are needed to justify the arrest.If the police arrested you without probable cause, then any evidence secured subsequent to your arrest may be inadmissible in court.
8. The Police Questioned You Without Reading Your Rights
Once the police arrest you and take you into custody, they must read your Miranda rights before conducting an interrogation. Failure to read your rights is grounds to have any statements you made in response to a custodial interrogation suppressed from your DUI case.
9. The Prosecution’s Evidence is Legally Insufficient
To secure a DUI conviction, the prosecution must be able to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. If the Shaw Law Group can show that the prosecution’s evidence is lacking in any respect, this could be enough to save you from a conviction or result in reduced charges.
10. You Qualify for Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD)
The good news is that for first time offenders, even if you were driving drunk, and even if the prosecution has enough admissible evidence to convict you, this does not necessarily mean you will go to jail, lose your license or have a criminal record. First time DUI Offenders may qualify for Pennsylvania’s Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) program. To be eligible, you must be DUI free for 10 years with no accident or minor child onboard. You must complete:
An alcohol highway safety program, an drug and alcohol evaluation (CRN), all recommended treatment and six or twelve months of supervision. You may still face a license loss but it is significantly less than a conviction. If you qualify and complete the ARD program successfully, you will avoid having a DUI conviction on your permanent record.
If you have been stopped or arrested for DUI and submitted to chemical testing, the very first thing you should do is call the Shaw Law Group for immediate advice.
Other Implications from a DUI STOP:
PA’s Implied Consent Law
All Pennsylvania drivers who are lawfully arrested for a DUI are required to submit to a breath or blood test to determine the amount of drugs or alcohol present. A driver who refuses testing will face:
a 12-month license suspension and a $500 license reinstatement fee for a first offense
an 18-month suspension and a $1,000 license reinstatement fee for a second offense, and
an 18-month suspension and a $2,000 license reinstatement fee for a third offense.
Prosecutors can also use a driver’s refusal to take an alcohol test as evidence at a DUI trial.
Ignition Interlocks and Limited Driving Privileges in PA DUI Cases
All drivers who receive a license suspension for a DUI conviction or a test refusal must maintain an ignition interlock device (IID) for at least one year after reinstatement.
However, the driver can install the IID during the suspension period to restore limited driving privileges. The offender must generally serve at least half of the suspension period prior to applying for the IID restricted license. But first-time offenders are immediately eligible for the IID license.
FACING A DUI? Contact us immediately for a FREE consultation.
A traffic ticket is not a crime, but you should still consult with a lawyer. It is either a citation that can be resolved by mailing in a check or a summons to appear in court on a certain date. These citations can result in points which lead to your license loss and are costly and this is not evident from the face of the ticket. Only an experienced defense attorney can inform you of the consequences and defenses you may have. Each traffic offense carries a point value. PennDOT starts to take action on your driving privileges after six points are accumulated. If your traffic ticket or violation would result in suspension, we will fight hard to have it dismissed or reduced to preserve your driving priviledes.
Stiffer penalties apply for drivers with a commercial driver’s license (CDL) cited while operating a truck or commercial vehicle, or holders of these licenses: Chauffeur License, Minor Restricted License, Recreational, Farmer & H-Hazardous Materials. Depending on the offense and prior convictions, these licenses could be suspended permanently.
If your driver’s license has been suspended due to a criminal conviction, they may be eligible for an occupational limited license (OLL). We can help all drivers, including commercial drivers, recover their driving privileges in order to maintain employment.
Illegal Stops And Drunk Driving Arrests In Pennsylvania
The prosecution has the burden of proving your specific alcohol content during your DUI case. We have more than 33 years of experience fighting these charges and having chemical test results removed from evidence. Our DUI team is experienced in all types of chemical testing in Pennsylvania, including:
Pennsylvania has an implied consent law that states drivers in Pennsylvania consent to be given any of these tests simply for driving on the state’s roads. If you have been stopped or arrested for DUI and submitted to chemical testing, we can help you fight your charges.
Refusing A Chemical Test In Pennsylvania
If you have refused a Breathalyzer test or blood DUI test in our state, you need an experienced DUI attorney in your corner to protect your rights. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation will attempt to suspend your license immediately after a chemical test refusal. We will explain your rights to you and defend them in court.
Mr. Lauer is a board-certified criminal trial lawyer by the National Board of Trial Advocacy with significant training in DUI defense and has a proven record achieving successful results. Do not hesitate to consult with us regarding your charges.There
We offer free initial consultations to answer your questions and help you understand your case, your legal rights and options. We know that clients need strong representation even if they cannot afford it, so we will work with you to create an affordable payment plan.