Schwendeman Law FirmCall 855-674-9898
HomeAbout UsAttorney-Client RepresentationNoticeContact
Criminal Defense Serving Pennsylvania





You just had a few drinks with friends and are on your way home when, suddenly, police lights are flashing in your rear-view mirror. A million thoughts run threw your head…will I go to jail?...will I lose my license?...will I lose my job?...what punishment will I get?...DO I NEED AN ATTORNEY?

If you have been arrested in the Pittsburgh area for a DUI, you need an experienced attorney to help you. Remember, the Police Department and the District Attorney's Office will use all of their personnel, resources, and training to prove you are guilty. Do you really want to go it alone?

Even a 1st offense is a very serious matter in Pennsylvania. No longer is drunk driving treated as a "glorified" traffic ticket. You are facing stiff fines, court-ordered license suspension, and even jail time.

While there are several sections to the Pennsylvania DUI laws, 75 Pa.C.S.A. §3802(a) states, General Impairment - (1) A person may not operate a motor vehicle after she or he has consumed a sufficient amount of alcohol that she or he is not capable of safely driving; (2) A person may be charged with this type of DUI if she or he has consumed a sufficient amount of alcohol that his or her BAC is between .08% and .10% within two (2) hours of operating a motor vehicle.

Under Pennsylvania law, your punishment depends on you Blood Alcohol Level (BAC). Compared to other states where you are either over the limit or not, Pennsylvania has a somewhat confusing 3 Tier system for DUI. The 3 Tiers for BAC are:

1) .08%-.099%

2) .10% - .159%

3) .16% and higher

Refusal to submit to a chemical test will automatically require punishment at the .16% and higher level - even if this is your 1st offense and you are not intoxicated!

Based on the 3 Tiers above, punishment for a 1st Pennsylvania DUI Offense is:
1) BAC .08 -- .099

  • Jail - no jail: 6 Months Probation
  • Fine - $300
  • License Suspension - None
  • Alcohol Highway Safety School Required

2) BAC .10 -- .159

  • Jail - 2 days to 6 months
  • Fine -- $300 to $5,000
  • License Suspension - 1 year
  • Alcohol Highway Safety School Required

3) BAC .16 and higher (or REFUSAL to submit to Chemical testing)

  • Jail - 3 days to 6 months
  • Fine -- $1,000 to $5,000
  • License Suspension - 1 year (with Limited Occupational License Possible After 60 Days)
  • Ignition Interlock Device may be required
  • Alcohol Highway Safety School Required
  • Drug and Alcohol (D&A) assessment and treatment.

Being arrested only means you have been accused of doing something wrong. It does not mean you are guilty. We will help you fight your case. Remember, in the United States, the BURDEN OF PROOF is on the prosecution to prove you are guilty beyond and to the exclusion of every reasonable doubt.

First, we must fight the traffic stop. Did the police have REASONABLE SUSPICION that you committed a violation of the Motor Vehicle Code? What evidence do the police have?

After the police stopped you, did they properly administer the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests? Were the chemical tests administered properly? Was the equipment properly calibrated?

The police routinely say the driver had the indicia of impairment: glassy, bloodshot eyes, slurred speech, fumbled with their wallet, or had an odor of alcohol. Many of these seemingly damning signs can be explained away with medical or other reasons which we need to investigate. For example, many conditions, such as allergies, can make your eyes glassy and bloodshot. And, most people would naturally be nervous when pulled over by the police, and fumble with their wallet.

You will not go it alone. We will help you through this painful and confusing process. We will sit with you and review your case and the evidence against you. We will advise you of your rights. We will advise you as to the best course of action. We will tell you when and where you must appear for court. Of course, when we tell you the day and time for court, please be at least 45 minutes early and dress appropriately. Call now for a free consultation and some piece of mind.

For more information or to schedule a private case evaluation with the Schwendeman Law Firm, call 855.674.9898 or Email at





  Home | About Us | Attorney-Client Representation | Notice | Contact
   Copyright ©2011 The Schwendeman Law Firm, All rights reserved