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Drug DUI Attorney

Pennsylvania Drug DUI Attorney

DUI defense lawyer

In Pennsylvania, it is illegal to drive with any amount of illegal drugs in your system. You can also be charged with a DUI if you drive while impaired by legally prescribed drugs or have certain prescription medications in your system without a valid prescription. While many people think that a DUI refers to drunk driving, you can also be charged with a DUI for drugs. If you are convicted of this offense, you can face serious penalties, including incarceration, substantial fines, a loss of your driving privileges, and more. If you are charged with driving under the influence of drugs, you should consult with an experienced defense lawyer at DiCindio Law to learn about what you should do.

What is a drugged DUI?

Under 38 Pa.CS § 3802(d)(1), it is illegal to drive, be in actual physical control, or operate a vehicle under any of the following circumstances:

  • When you have any amount of a schedule I controlled substance in your blood
  • When you have any amount of a Schedule II or III substance in your blood for which you do not have a valid prescription
  • When you have a metabolite of any of these substances in your blood

It is also illegal to drive when you have drugs in your system in an amount that impairs your ability to safely drive your vehicle under 3802(d)(2).

It is important to note that under 3802(d)(1), you can be charged with a DUI on drugs even if the amount of illegal drugs in your system does not impair your driving. Under (d)(2), you can be charged with a DUI on drugs when you drive while impaired by drugs, which can include legally prescribed medications. Having a prescription for drugs like Vicodin, Percocet, Ambien, or other drugs that impair your ability to safely operate your vehicle will not be a defense to driving under the influence of drugs.

How do police detect a DUI on drugs?

Police officers cannot give motorists a portable breath test to determine whether they might be under the influence on the side of the road like they can for alcohol. Similarly, a breathalyzer test cannot be used to determine whether you are under the influence of drugs after your arrest. Instead, they must rely on other ways to determine impairment.

An officer might ask you to submit to a blood test. Blood will be drawn at the police station or a hospital through an approved process. Your blood sample will then be sent to the forensics lab to determine whether any drugs are present in your system, the types of drugs, and their levels.

A police officer might also use a urine test to check for the presence of drugs when you are arrested. Your urine sample will be sent to a lab for analysis to determine the types of drugs and their amounts in your system.

Field sobriety tests

Following your stop, the police officer might ask you to perform some standardized field sobriety tests if he or she suspects that you might be under the influence, including the walk-and-turn, one-legged stand, and horizontal gaze nystagmus tests. During these tests, the officer will observe you for clues that indicate impairment. Your performance on these tests can be used against you in court.

An officer may also call a drug recognition expert to the scene to perform a battery of tests. A DRE is an officer who has completed a short training course about the indicators of drug impairment. These tests are meant to help officers secure probable cause to arrest you. You are not required to agree to these tests at the roadside. If you are arrested and asked to submit to a blood or urine test, however, Pennsylvania’s implied consent laws mean that a refusal could result in a lengthy suspension of your driving privileges. A refusal of a blood or urine test can be used against you in your DUI case.

What are the penalties for a drugged DUI in Pennsylvania?

When you are charged with a DUI on drugs, you will automatically face the penalties for the highest tier of DUI offenses in the three-tier penalty system. For a DUI drugs first offense, you will face the following penalties:

  • From 72 hours to six months in jail
  • Fine of $1,000 to $5,000
  • 12-month suspension of your driving privileges
  • Alcohol highway safety school
  • Drug assessment and compliance with recommended treatment


For a second DUI drugs conviction within 10 years, you can face the following penalties:

  • From 90 days up to five years in prison
  • Fine of $1,500 up to $10,000
  • 18-month suspension of your driver’s license
  • Alcohol highway safety school
  • Drug and alcohol assessment and compliance with recommended treatment


For a third DUI drugs conviction within 10 years, you will face the following penalties:

  • Third-degree felony
  • One to seven years in prison
  • Fine from $2,500 up to $15,000
  • 18-month suspension of your driver’s license
  • Alcohol highway safety school
  • Drug and alcohol assessment and compliance with treatment recommendations

Defenses to Drug DUI cases

An experienced DUI defense attorney at DiCindio Law can review the evidence in your case to identify the defenses that might be raised. Some of the potential defenses might include the following:

  • Errors made in collecting blood or urine
  • Chain of custody problems
  • Lab analysis errors
  • Improperly administered field sobriety tests
  • Lack of reasonable suspicion to stop your vehicle
  • Lack of probable cause for your arrest


Your attorney will discuss the defenses that are appropriate in your case with you.

Get help from an experienced DUI drugs defense attorney


Facing DUI drugs charges does not necessarily mean that you will be convicted. Since the penalties are serious, however, it is a good idea for you to talk to an experienced attorney as soon as possible. Contact DiCindio Law today by calling us at 610.430.3535.

If you or a loved one has been charged with a crime in Pennsylvania, contact Mike DiCindio, Esq today at 610.220.4691!

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