Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania DUI Attorney


Is it necessary that I take Field Sobriety Tests? What happens if I refuse?

If you are pulled over on suspicion of DUI, the police officer will probably want you to take a series of Field Sobriety Tests (FSTs). Actually, you are NOT legally required to submit, and it is usually within your best interests to politely refuse. FSTs are extremely subjective, especially when you are being observed by a police officer who has probably already made up his mind about whether or not you’re intoxicated. Even if you think you’re doing well on an FST, your officer may very well see more mistakes than successes and fail you all the same. A failed FST just gives the prosecution more ammunition to prove you guilty, regardless of the facts. If you refuse to take an FST, your officer most likely will move on to a Breathalyzer test, so your performance on any field tests would have little effect on whether or not you’re arrested anyway.

Can I refuse to take a chemical BAC test as well?

This is more complicated than the matter of FSTs. It is absolutely your right to refuse a BAC test as well. However, if you refuse you will certainly be charged with DUI and you face additional penalties like a longer suspended license sentence. The benefits might outweigh the costs in some cases, while it might just make matters worse in others. Know that you will likely be charged either way, but that breath and blood tests may still be subject to inaccuracies. The decision is yours.

I took a Breathalyzer test and it said I was over the legal limit, should I just plead guilty?

No! No matter what a police officer or prosecuting attorney tells you, it is always better to retain an attorney and attempt to fight your charges. Did the police have probable cause to pull you over in the first place? If not, your entire case could be thrown out, regardless of your BAC test results. Even if your case appears to be open and shut, a good DUI attorney knows that there is always a good defense.

My license was suspended, but I need to drive to do chores. Is it okay to drive just a little bit in my neighborhood?

If your license was suspended, it is absolutely critical to your safety that you stay off the roads. If you are caught driving on a suspended license (a violation of Pennsylvania Vehicle Code §1543) you could face up to six months in prison, fines in excess of $1,000, and a further extended license suspension. If this is your first DUI offense, you may be able to apply for a conditional hardship license, which would permit you to drive during certain hours, allowing you to get to and from work and complete vital chores. If this is unavailable to you, however, then it is absolutely critical to your safety that you stay off the roads.