Mixed drink and a half of a beer get me DUI?

Q: The cop was sitting and waiting for people to leave bar after work and pulled me over. He had my car towed. When I told him I would walk he gave me a sobriety test that I passed. He took me to hospital. I said no to the blood test and asked him not to tow my car. He asked me if I have a condition that would prevent me from taking sobriety test and I said yes. He still made me do it. I passed the nose finger-to-nose tip test. He took me to hospital. I refused the blood work. What can he do? He has no blood proof and I passed the test.  (Pittsburgh, PA)

A: My condolences and all but he can arrest and likely convict you. If you only had a mixed drink and half a beer, why would you not comply with testing? Your refusal will result in a one-year suspension in addition to a one-year suspension for the DUI if convicted. As you can probably guess, the officer’s Affidavit of Probable Cause, which will be attached to your criminal police complaint, will paint a picture of an intoxicated person. With no blood or breath test to gauge your BAC, it will be your word against the word of the officer as to whether you exhibited behavior consistent with being under the influence to the extent you that were incapable of safe driving. If you plan on defending this, you will need to consult with an attorney on your chances.

Can I get PennDOT to grant me concurrent driver license suspensions?

Q: Is it possible to get my consecutive suspensions to run concurrently? My license is suspended and I am reviewing my restoration requirements. I have 4 charges of driving on a suspended license, producing 4 suspensions of 1 year each. Plus, a drug delivery charge yielding a 6-month suspension.  I have already served a year in jail and 6 months on probation, but can hardly imagine my future if I must wait 4.5 years to be allowed to have a license again. Is there any chance that some action I could take, or with representation that is affordable, I could somehow get this significantly reduced, perhaps so that my consecutive 1 year suspensions could run concurrently?

A: PennDOT does not run driver’s license suspensions concurrently and the court has no authority to do so as it an administrative procedure. You may be eligible for an Occupational Limited License if the suspensions are not DUI or drug related. The PennDOT website has information on the OLL procedures.

I have a suspended license offense

Q: I have traffic court in Indiana, PA. I live in Pittsburgh but work up there. This is my third driving under suspended license offense.

A: If it was a DUI related suspension (Motor Vehicle Code 1543 b), you could be looking at a 90-day minimum sentence. In addition, PennDOT will suspend your driver’s license for another year if you are convicted. An attorney may be able to a) get the case dismissed if you have a defense, b) get it pled down to a lesser offense or c) get you house arrest privileges/electric home monitoring so you don’t go to real jail. Call a local attorney about your options.

Can I get a suspended sentence for 2nd underage drinking?

Q: I caught a 2nd underage drinking charge. I didn’t face jail time the first time, but I imagine the judge isn’t gonna be happy to see me again. Is there any way I could get my lawyer to work out a suspended sentence for me, or some other way to avoid jail time?

A: If the first section 6308 summary didn’t get you a 90 day license suspension because you somehow avoided a conviction for being a first time offender, this new 6308 will carry a one year driver’s license suspension. I would hire an attorney. An attorney may be able to advise you on how to avoid a conviction, if possible.


Can I use a public defender to for an issue with reinstating my license ?

Q: My license has been suspended for until 2017, one year for not responding to a letter regarding my fine, and another year from years ago. (Bridgeville, PA). Can I get a public defender to help me?

A: No, at least not in Allegheny County. As mentioned a driver’s license suspension is actually an administrative punishment from PennDOT, separate from any underlying criminal case. Traditionally, the PD is to be appointed to represent a defendant at the critical stages of criminal prosecution to ensure due process and to protect constitutional rights. A driver’s license suspension is not considered to be a criminal matter evoking due process and constitutional rights. Your best bet is to do the background work yourself. Contact PennDOT and obtain a restoration letter and a copy of your driver’s record. These documents and if necessary, a call to PennDOT will help you understand what you need to do to restore your license. If not, then contact a lawyer who handles driver’s license issue.

What am I facing on this DUI?


Q: I live in Baldwin Twp. but got a DUI, .247, in Washington PA. What will I get?

A: 1st offense, 72 hours to 6 months plus probation, court costs and fees and a 1.5 year drivers license suspension. 2nd offense, 90 days to 5 years plus probation, court costs and fees and a 1.5 year driver’s license suspension. 3rd offense, 1 to 5 years plus probation, court costs and fees and a 1.5 year driver’s license suspension. Your 4th offense, another 1-5 and the all the toppings. However, if you qualify for ARD, you receive no jail time, no criminal record and a 60 day driver’s license suspension. You will have a couple thousand in court fees and costs with ARD. I would see an attorney. There are house arrest and jail work release options to regular jail in Washington County. Hope this helps. Those are the general ranges of sentences, but there are variations so you should consult with a lawyer as soon as possible.