It can be all too easy to find yourself facing DUI charges, and the consequences of a conviction can be significant. Even for a first offense, you can lose your driving privileges, which can substantially damage your ability to work, go to school or care for your family. This can also be accompanied by heavy fines and, in some cases, incarceration. In order to challenge DUI charges successfully, it is important to understand how Pennsylvania defines driving under the influence and the complicated circumstances in which you may face these charges.
What does “drunk driving” actually mean?
Most people facing DUI charges are accused of operating their vehicles with a blood alcohol concentration at or above .08%, the legal limit. Their BAC may have been determined with a breath test, but the allegation may also be supported by other testimony, such as police observations or the result of a field sobriety test. You can be charged with DUI even if you did not show signs of unsafe driving, depending on the breath test results. On the other hand, if you had a BAC below the limit but are accused of weaving or reckless driving, you might still be accused of drunk driving.
“Driving under the influence”
You can be charged with DUI even if you are not actually operating your vehicle at the time. People have faced DUI charges while pulled over or parked, especially if they are in the driver’s seat and the keys are in the ignition. In order to establish that you were intoxicated, police may rely on breath tests for alcohol, blood tests for drugs, or observational evidence.
DUI charges can have a significant effect on your life if you are convicted, especially if you are facing second or third offense allegations. A DUI defense attorney may help you to challenge police evidence and work to prevent a conviction.