Spivak Law Firm | Pittsburgh, PA

Based in Pittsburgh, PA

412-344-4900

Spivak Law Firm is BBB Accredited

Driving Under the Influence (DUI):

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you defend me against DUI charges?
Yes. Spivak Law Firm strongly defends people arrested for DUI. Our strong negotiation and trial skills enable us to achieve the best possible outcome for your case. If you have been arrested for DUI, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

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Can you help get my driver’s license restored?
Yes. Spivak Law Firm helps commercial drivers and others restore their driver’s licenses so they can get back to work. In some cases, we can help our clients receive an occupational limited license that allows them to drive even while they serve their DUI punishment. To speak with a driver’s license suspension attorney, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

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What is DUI?
DUI means “driving under the influence” of alcohol, illegal drugs, or controlled substances. A DUI conviction is usually a misdemeanor offense that can lead to criminal penalties including jail, fines, and license suspension. To schedule an appointment with a DUI lawyer, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

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How can I challenge my DUI?
Spivak Law Firm knows how to weaken a DUI case and can seek to have the charges reduced or dropped. First, we determine whether police had reasonable suspicion to pull you over in the first place. If police lacked reasonable suspicion, we file a motion to suppress evidence that can lead to a dismissal of the charges. We also challenge a DUI by reviewing police work for inaccuracies and assessing whether field sobriety and blood alcohol tests were conducted properly. If you want a lawyer to challenge your DUI charges, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

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What are the possible penalties for a DUI?
Penalties for a DUI include jail, fines, and license suspension. Penalties are mainly determined by BAC level and the number of prior DUI convictions. Pennsylvania has three levels for punishing people convicted of DUI. People convicted of driving under the influence of illegal drugs or controlled substances are automatically placed in the highest BAC category with the harshest penalties. To learn more about DUI penalties, click here.

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What is BAC?
BAC means blood alcohol content. BAC is measured by dividing grams of alcohol by 100 milliliters of blood. Penalties for a DUI become more severe with increased BAC levels. Police use breath, blood, and urine tests to determine a driver’s BAC level. For more information, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

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What is the legal BAC limit for driving in Pennsylvania?
For most adults, a BAC level exceeding .08 percent constitutes intoxication for DUI purposes. A BAC greater than.02 percent is enough to show intoxication for school bus and commercial vehicle drivers.

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I’m scared to go to jail – are there alternatives?
In some circumstances, a person convicted of DUI may qualify for jail alternatives including home detention and diversionary programs such as ARD for first-time DUI offenders. To find out if you qualify for a jail alternative, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

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What is ARD?
ARD means “accelerated rehabilitative disposition.” It is a diversion program available to some first-time DUI offenders that generally involves serving a brief license suspension, attending an alcohol education program, and receiving substance abuse counseling. Completion of ARD results in the dismissal of DUI charges and the removal of the DUI from the person’s permanent record. To learn more about ARD, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

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Am I eligible for ARD?
If you are a first-time DUI offender, you are likely eligible for ARD. But you will not be eligible for ARD if (1) you have a prior DUI conviction, (2) you participated in ARD within the last 10 years, (3) a child under 12 was in the vehicle at the time of the DUI stop or (4) while driving under the influence you were involved in a motor vehicle collision resulting in serious injuries to another person. To have an attorney review your case, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

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What types of crimes result in license suspension?
License suspension is automatic if you are convicted of DUI, careless driving, reckless driving, or racing on highways. To speak with an attorney about restoring your driver’s license, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

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What happens if I’m caught driving with a suspended license?
Your license may be suspended for another year. Additionally, each new conviction brings you closer to a mandatory jail sentence. If you were caught driving with a suspended license, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

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Can you help me get an occupational limited license?
Yes. Spivak Law Firm helps commercial drivers and others get an occupational limited license. If you need an occupational limited license, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

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What are field sobriety tests?
Field sobriety tests are administered by police to evaluate a person’s sobriety. Tests such as the walk-and-turn test aim to measure a person’s balance, coordination, and ability to multi-task. To learn more about field sobriety tests, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

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Must I submit to field sobriety tests?
No. You need not submit to any field sobriety test. These tests are not legally required. You may decline to take them and receive no adverse legal consequences. Indeed, it may be wise to decline them because many people cannot pass them even while sober. For more information, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

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Must I submit to a blood, alcohol, or urine test?
Once placed under arrest, you must submit to an official blood, breath, or urine test. Refusing these tests results in an automatic one-year suspension of your license and can be taken as evidence of your guilt at trial. This license suspension remains enforceable by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation even if you are not convicted of DUI. To learn more about your legal rights, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

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What is the legal BAC limit for underage drinking and driving in Pennsylvania?
Pennsylvania has a zero tolerance BAC level for underage drinking and driving. A BAC level exceeding .02 percent is enough to show intoxication for minors. This BAC level is so low that even mouthwash may put a minor over the legal limit. If your child is charged with underage drinking and driving, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

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What is MIP?
MIP refers to “minor in possession” of alcohol or illegal drugs. Under Pennsylvania law, a minor can be convicted of underage drinking even if he or she did not consume any alcohol. Mere purchase or possession of alcohol or illegal drugs is enough. A first conviction carries a 90-day license suspension; a second conviction carries a one-year suspension; and a third conviction carries a mandatory two-year license suspension. If your child has received a citation for MIP, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

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What is an Ignition Interlock Device?
Under Pennsylvania law, installation of an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) is required for repeat DUI offenders. The IID attaches to your car and operates similarly to a breathalyzer. For your car to start, you must first blow into the IID and register a BAC of .02 percent or less. If your BAC exceeds .02, your car will not start. To learn more, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

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What is a SCRAM device?
A SCRAM device may be required for repeat DUI offenders. It attaches to your leg and must remain in constant contact with your skin to measure BAC in the body’s perspiration. The device takes one reading an hour and transmits the results to a central monitoring station. If the device registers a BAC over .02, your license will be suspended and you could go to jail and face other penalties. For more information, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

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What is an expungement?
Expungement refers to the removal of criminal charges from your permanent record. If you have been arrested but not convicted, an expungement can clear your record of a criminal arrest. This may be particularly important for workers such as police officers and teachers whose jobs require a background check. To learn more about expungement, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

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Can I have the DUI expunged from my record?
Under Pennsylvania law, criminal proceedings involving misdemeanor or felony charges can be expunged if (1) you were not convicted, (2) the charges were dismissed or withdrawn, or (3) you successfully completed an ARD program on a first and only charge. To learn if your record can be expunged, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

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Contact Our Pittsburgh Law Firm Today

To schedule an appointment, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390. Our Pittsburgh office is open during normal business hours, as well as evenings and weekends by appointment.

Spivak Law Firm routinely accepts cases in Allegheny County, Beaver County, Butler County, Washington County, and Westmoreland County.