Photo of a Drunk Driver

Practice Areas

DUI Lawyers Pittsburgh

Your Defense Against DUI Charges

When you are confronted with DUI charges in Pittsburgh, the stakes are high, and the consequences can be life-altering. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) reports that alcohol-related fatalities constitute almost 30 percent of all traffic fatalities in the state. Law enforcement data reveals that in the year 2022, there were a total of 42,409 arrests for driving under the influence (DUI) in Pennsylvania. 

At Very Law, our experienced Pittsburgh DUI defense attorneys understand the complexities of Pennsylvania's DUI laws and are committed to safeguarding your rights and future. Whether you have been charged with a first-time offense or you are facing repeat DUI charges, our strategic approach includes aggressively challenging the prosecution’s evidence, questioning the legality of stops and tests, and creating opportunities for reduced penalties or dismissals.

With our dedicated legal team, you will have a strong advocate by your side, fighting to protect your driving privileges and minimize the impact of DUI charges on your life. Do not leave your defense to chance; trust Very Law to provide the legal acumen, resources, and experience you need to defend against DUI charges in Pittsburgh.

What Is the DUI Law in Pittsburgh, PA?

Driving Under the Influence (DUI) law in Pittsburgh is primarily governed by the Pennsylvania Vehicle Code, Title 75, Section 3802. This section outlines the legal limits for blood alcohol concentration (BAC) and the associated penalties for DUI offenses. Under Section 3802(a), it is unlawful for any person to operate a motor vehicle with a BAC of 0.08% or higher. For commercial drivers, the limit is reduced to 0.04%, and for individuals under the age of 21, there is a "zero tolerance" policy with a BAC limit of 0.02%.

Penalties for DUI Offenses in Pittsburgh, PA

General Impairment (Tier 1)

BAC: 0.08% to 0.099%

First offense:

  • Minimum 6 months of probation
  • $300 fine
  • Alcohol highway safety school attendance

Second offense (within 10 years):

  • Minimum 5 days to 6 months in jail
  • $750 to $5,000 fine
  • 12-month license suspension
  • Mandatory ignition interlock device (IID) for 1 year

High BAC (Tier 2)

BAC: 0.10% to 0.159%

First offense:

  • Minimum 48 hours to 6 months in jail
  • $500 to $5,000 fine
  • 12-month license suspension
  • Mandatory ignition interlock device (IID) for 1 year

Second offense (within 10 years):

  • Minimum 30 days to 6 months in jail
  • $750 to $5,000 fine
  • 12-month license suspension
  • Mandatory IID for 1 year

Highest BAC (Tier 3)

BAC: 0.16% or higher

First offense:

  • Minimum 72 hours to 6 months in jail
  • $1,000 to $5,000 fine
  • 12-month license suspension
  • Mandatory ignition interlock device (IID) for 1 year

Second offense (within 10 years):

  • Minimum 90 days to 5 years in jail
  • $1,500 to $10,000 fine
  • 18-month license suspension
  • Mandatory IID for 1 year

Multiple DUI Offenses

  • Repeat DUI offenses within a ten-year period result in escalating penalties.
  • Third or subsequent offenses may lead to mandatory imprisonment and substantial fines.
  • For example, a third offense within ten years carries a minimum of 1 year in jail, a $2,500 to $10,000 fine, and an 18-month license suspension.

Felony DUI

  • DUI incidents involving an accident causing serious bodily injury or death may lead to felony charges.
  • Felony DUI penalties can include substantial prison time, typically ranging from 3 to 7 years for causing serious injury and up to 10 years for causing a death.

Underage DUI - Zero Tolerance in Pittsburgh

In Pittsburgh, there is a "zero tolerance" policy when it comes to underage DUI. This means that individuals who are under the legal drinking age of 21 and are found to be operating a vehicle with any detectable amount of alcohol in their system can face serious consequences.

Penalties for Underage DUI (Zero Tolerance):

  • The penalties for underage DUI in Pittsburgh, PA, can be significant and can include:

These penalties can have a lasting impact on a young person's life, affecting their ability to drive, insurance rates, and future opportunities. Therefore, it is prudent for individuals under 21 charged with underage DUI to get legal representation from our experienced DUI defense lawyers to navigate the legal process and minimize the consequences.

Types of Defenses Our Pittsburgh DUI Lawyers will Use to Defend You

Our Pittsburgh DUI lawyers employ a range of strategic defenses to protect your rights and challenge the prosecution's case.

Challenging the Traffic Stop: We investigate whether the initial traffic stop was legally justified. If law enforcement lacked reasonable suspicion or probable cause to stop your vehicle, it could lead to the suppression of evidence obtained after the stop.

Questioning Field Sobriety Tests: Field sobriety tests, such as the walk-and-turn or one-leg stand, can be subjective and prone to errors. Our lawyer may question the reliability of these tests and whether they were administered correctly.

Challenging Breathalyzer or Blood Test Results: We scrutinize the accuracy of breathalyzer or blood test results, including potential issues with calibration, maintenance, or operator error. We may also request retesting of blood samples.

Rising Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) Defense: Your BAC may have increased between the time you were pulled over and when the chemical test was conducted. Our attorney may present evidence to suggest that you were not over the legal limit while driving but became so afterward.

Medical Conditions Defense: Certain medical conditions or medications can mimic the symptoms of impairment. Our DUI attorney may present medical evidence to demonstrate that your alleged impairment was due to a medical condition, not alcohol or drugs.

Miranda Rights Violation: If law enforcement failed to properly inform you of your Miranda rights, any statements you made after your arrest may be inadmissible in court.

Inaccurate Police Report: Our Pittsburgh DUI lawyer will carefully review the police report for inconsistencies or errors in the arresting officer's observations and statements.

Illegal Search and Seizure: If there were violations of your Fourth Amendment rights during the arrest, such as an illegal search of your vehicle, our law firm may move to suppress the evidence obtained as a result.

Alternative Explanations: We may present alternative explanations for the observed behavior or odor of alcohol, such as the presence of alcohol in the vehicle but not consumed by you.

Procedural Errors: Our DUI defense attorney may examine the entire arrest and booking process for any procedural errors or violations of your rights that could lead to case dismissal or reduced charges.

At Very Law, our skilled Pittsburgh DUI lawyers will leave no stone unturned to build a robust defense for your case, aiming to secure the best possible outcome, whether through reduced charges, dismissal, or acquittal.

FAQs on Breathalyzer Test and Field Sobriety Test in Pittsburgh

Can I refuse a breathalyzer or blood test during a DUI stop?

Yes, you have the right to refuse a chemical test, but Pennsylvania has implied consent laws. Refusal can result in an automatic license suspension and other penalties.

Can breathalyzer results be challenged in court?

Yes, breathalyzer results can be challenged. Common challenges include issues with calibration, maintenance, and the accuracy of the device. Our experienced DUI lawyers at Very Law will gather evidence and assess the circumstances surrounding the test to challenge the results. Inaccuracies or procedural errors may provide us a basis for your defense.

Are there medical conditions or substances that can affect breathalyzer results?

Yes, certain medical conditions (e.g., acid reflux) and substances (e.g., mouthwash with alcohol) can potentially lead to falsely high BAC readings. Our Pittsburgh DUI lawyers will aggressively explore these factors as part of your defense.

Do I have to submit to field sobriety tests during a DUI stop?

You are not legally obligated to participate in field sobriety tests. They are voluntary. Politely declining may be a reasonable choice in some situations.

What if I have a medical condition that affects my ability to perform field sobriety tests?

Inform the officer about your medical condition. Some medical conditions can affect your performance on these tests, and this information should be taken into account.

Can an officer administer field sobriety tests incorrectly?

Yes, field sobriety tests are often unreliable indicators of impairment because they are administered inaccurately. Mistakes or improper instructions by the officer can be challenged in court.

Types of Evidence Our DUI Lawyers will Pursue to Discredit Your Breathalyzer Results

Calibration and Maintenance Records: Our attorneys will request and scrutinize the calibration and maintenance records of the breathalyzer device used in your case. Any irregularities, lapses in maintenance, or issues with the device's accuracy can be used to challenge the reliability of the results.

Operator Training and Certification: We will examine the qualifications and training of the law enforcement officer who administered the breathalyzer test. Any deficiencies in training or certification may be used to question the validity of the test results.

Observational Evidence: Our attorneys will review the officer's observations and interactions with you leading up to the breathalyzer test. If there is no clear indication of impairment or if you exhibited sober behavior, it can be used to challenge the accuracy of the results.

Medical Conditions: We will investigate whether you have any medical conditions or factors that could have influenced the breathalyzer results. Medical conditions such as acid reflux or certain diets can produce false positives on breathalyzer tests.

Rising Blood Alcohol Content (BAC): Our lawyers may present evidence to suggest that your BAC was rising at the time of the test. This can occur if you consumed alcohol shortly before or during your drive, and your BAC was not over the legal limit while you were operating the vehicle.

Witness Testimony: If there were witnesses present at the time of your arrest who can testify to your sobriety, demeanor, or other relevant factors, their testimony can be crucial in discrediting breathalyzer results.

Independent Expert Witnesses: We may consult with independent forensic experts who can analyze the breathalyzer device, its maintenance records, and the circumstances of the test to provide expert testimony challenging the reliability of the results.

Video Footage: If there is video footage of your interactions with law enforcement, it can be used to assess your physical condition, behavior, and any discrepancies between the video and the breathalyzer results.

Chain of Custody: We will examine the chain of custody of your breathalyzer sample to ensure it was properly handled and stored. Any lapses in the chain of custody can raise doubts about the integrity of the sample.

Procedural Errors: Our attorneys will assess whether there were any procedural errors during the administration of the breathalyzer test. Failure to follow established procedures can render the results inadmissible in court.

Get Our Proven Pittsburgh DUI Defense Team on Your Side

At Very Law, we understand that facing DUI criminal charges can be overwhelming, and your future is at stake. Our experienced team of DUI defense lawyers in Pittsburgh, PA, is committed to providing you with strong advocacy, personalized attention, and strategic legal solutions. Our top legal defense team in Pittsburgh will stand by your side, fighting relentlessly to protect your rights and secure the best possible outcome. Call Very Law today at 412-430-0131 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.

Had a good relationship with the right people at the court.
We Are Here to Serve You

Think you may have a case? Let’s talk.

Schedule a Consultation