Even if it is your first driving under the influence (DUI) offense, the consequences can have you enduring significant hardships for the rest of your life. If you are charged with a DUI, you need answers fast, and from someone you trust. The following frequently asked questions may help you develop a plan for moving forward.

1. When is a motorist considered legally drunk in Pennsylvania?

For drivers over 21, the legal limit for your blood alcohol level (BAC) is .08%. However, if you are a driver under the age of 21, the limit is .02%.

2. Do I have to submit to a breath test, and what happens if I refuse?

The short answer is no. However, Pennsylvania has what is known as an ”implied consent law.” When you become a licensed driver, you sign your name on your driver’s license indicating that you consent to a breathalyzer test whenever the police officer requests it. Refusing this test makes you liable for ensuing penalties, such as automatic license suspension.

3.  If I am convicted of a DUI, will I end up losing my license?

The answer to this question depends on whether this is your first offense, the severity of the charge and your individual license status. Based on those factors you may not lose your license or you may lose your license for an extended period of time.

4. When is the right time to consult with an attorney?

It is important to understand that a DUI attorney can start working on your behalf from the very beginning, even helping you get your case dismissed before you head to trial. Many people wrongly assume they do not need a DUI lawyer for a preliminary hearing if they just want to go to trial or may prefer to settle for a public defender. However, these preliminary hearings can often decide your entire case. Working with an attorney from the get-go can help weaken the prosecution’s evidence early on, even dispensing with the need for a trial.