Driving Under the Influence

From his law office on Beau Street, near the county courthouse, DUI Defense Lawyer, Keith Emerick, has successfully defended his clients in the Washington County, PA court system from all types of DUI charges.  Whether alcohol or drug-related, cases involving traffic stops, vehicle accidents, even cases where the accused was not in or with his vehicle at the time of arrest, Mr. Emerick has seen it all.  Details are vital to a proper DUI defense and Mr. Emerick is known for his skilled and detailed evaluations of DUI cases for defenses and mitigation strategies.  He routinely puts his findings to work for his clients, getting them real results.

Whether you have no criminal record, or if you have prior DUI convictions, Mr. Emerick knows and meets the challenges of each of his clients.  He has represented citizens from all over Washington County, including: Washington, Canonsburg, California, Donora, McMurray, Monongahela, Charleroi, Thompsonville, Centerville, McDonald, Cecil, and Burgettstown, among others.  He routinely practices in the Washington County DUI Central Magisterial Court, located on Chestnut Street in the Washington, PA.  He routinely practices in the Washington County DUI Court and the Washington County DUI Treatment Court in the county courthouse on Main Street in Washington, PA.  Out-of-county residents seek him out for his local experience.  He has practiced with all of the DUI prosecutors in Washington County.  He has met, handled DUI cases filed by, even questioned, many of the police officers and Pennsylvania State Troopers employed in Washington County.  Mr. Emerick is a known quantity among judges, prosecutors, and law enforcement alike.

Among DUI defense lawyers, Keith Emerick is one of the seemingly few who have completed the National Highway Traffic Safety Association’s (NHTSA) DUI Detection & Standardized Field Sobriety Testing (SFST), Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement (ARIDE) and Dug Recognition Expert Training Overview (DRE) training courses.  While this training is not mandatory in order for a lawyer to take on DUI cases, your arresting officer very likely took some or all of these courses in learning how to build a DUI case.  Not only has Mr. Emerick taken and passed these courses, he has been trained as an instructor.  Mr. Emerick makes it his business to know how law enforcement will develop and prosecute a DUI case.  He knows the pressure points in a DUI investigation and he knows when an investigation falls short.  Mr. Emerick’s skill, training, knowledge, and experience provide his clients a key advantage in court.

If you are charged with DUI in Washington County, PA, Keith Emerick is here to help.

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Evaluating the DUI Case

Many aspects of an officer’s DUI investigation are controlled by procedures standardized by the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA), a federal agency and part of the US Dept. of Transportation. Your arresting officer likely completed NHTSA’s various curriculums, which formed the basis for many of his actions the night you were arrested. Despite their great importance many DUI lawyers attempt to evaluate and defend your DUI case with limited knowledge of these standardized police procedures.  Not only has Mr. Emerick taken these courses and passed them, he is also trained as an instructor.

From NHTSA Guidelines to Constitutional Infirmities – from Factual Issues to Scientific Disputes relating to breath/blood evidence – there may be defenses to your DUI charges that you aren’t yet aware. Hire a top rated DUI Attorney today.

Getting the Best Result

Open Communication

It should go without saying that the best results in DUI cases come through diligent preparation and open communication between you and your lawyer.


Whether the case against you is dismissed or won at trial, or even if our primary goal is simply to control the damage a DUI might do to you, Attorney Emerick is committed to getting his client’s the best possible result.


Do I need a lawyer for my DUI?
Yes. Whether it’s Mr. Emerick, another lawyer, or the public defender, you must be represented by a skilled lawyer if charged with a crime. There is more at stake than you realize. There is more that can be done than you realize. Consultations are free.
How long does it take to get charged with a DUI in PA?
Law enforcement typically has two years from the date of the incident to file charges before the statute of limitations sets in. But law enforcement rarely takes that long to file DUI charges. In cases where the motorist submits to a breath test, charges are typically filed within 30-60 days. When the motorist submits to a blood test, the officer will send the blood sample to a state-approved lab for testing, which might delay the process by a few more weeks.
Is your license suspended immediately after a DUI in PA?
No. If you are facing a license suspension due to a DUI conviction or ARD, the county Clerk of Courts office will send your disposition to PENNDOT, who will then mail you a Notice of Suspension letter with your effective suspension date. From the date of your plea/ARD, PENNDOT will typically take up to 6 weeks to catch up with you.
Will I lose my drivers license?
If convicted of DUI or entered into the ARD program, and depending on your record and BAC, you may face a driver’s license suspension of 30 days to 18 months plus a subsequent 1-year ignition interlock requirement. If you depend on your drivers license, a proper evaluation/defense of your DUI case is strongly recommended.
If I lose my drivers license, can I still drive to work?
In order to continue driving you would first need to be approved by PENNDOT for an Ignition Interlock Limited License (IILL) which would allow you continue driving your vehicle so long as an Ignition Interlock device is installed and you are providing clean breath samples. Depending on your record, you may even be immediately eligible.
How long do you lose your license for first DUI in PA?
If you plead guilty to DUI, or are convicted after trial, you may lose your license for up to 12 months, plus a subsequent ignition interlock period of 12 months. Not only that but you may face a sentence of incarceration, fines, court costs, and probationary terms. On the other hand, those who are able to enter the ARD Program face lesser sanctions across the board.
Will my CDL be suspended?
If convicted of DUI or entered into the ARD program, your CDL will be suspended. Depending on your record, it may even be revoked. If your employment depends on having a CDL, a proper evaluation/defense of your DUI case is strongly recommended.
What is ARD?
Each county in PA is required by state law to administer an Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) Program. ARD is a pre-trial diversion program that allows first-time, non-violent offenders to avoid conviction, protect their criminal record, avoid jail time, avoid fines and – in the case of DUI – drastically reduce their drivers license suspension.
Is jail time mandatory for 1st DUI in PA?
It depends. If you are convicted or plead guilty to a 1st offense DUI in PA, you may face jail time, depending on your BAC. If however, you are entered into the ARD Program, there is no mandatory jail sentence.
This is my first DUI. Am I guaranteed ARD?
No. Inclusion/Admission into the ARD program is not guaranteed. The law contains several ineligibility provisions. Prosecutors are given strong (though not unfettered) discretion as to who they offer inclusion, and recent changes in case law have caused prosecutors across PA to be more careful about offering inclusion. Finally, for Inclusion to become Admission into the program, court approval is required. Do not take ARD for granted.
What is the most common penalty for a DUI in PA?
Depending on your criminal record, your BAC, and other factors, you could face jail time, probation/parole, thousands of dollars in fines and court costs, license suspension, community service, and restitution.
Can you drink while on DUI probation in PA?
No. A typical condition of probation and parole is that you not purchase, use, or possess alcoholic beverages. The court will also likely bar you from entering bars or taverns.
Is DUI a felony in PA?
It depends on your record. If you are accused of DUI in PA and already have two prior DUI’s within the past ten (10) years, then, depending on what you had in your system, you may be charged with felony DUI.
What are the penalties for DUI in PA?
The penalties for DUI in PA are severe. The penalties depend on your criminal record (if any), DUI history (if any), and what you had in your system at the time of your arrest (blood/alcohol content (“BAC”) and/or controlled substance). The penalties include a potential county jail sentence, or even imprisonment at a state correctional institute. You may face a severe fine, plus costs of prosecution, and court costs, thousands of dollars in total. You may also face a driver’s license suspension of up to 18 months, plus a mandatory period of ignition interlock. This doesn’t even touch on the potential problems a criminal record may cause you in the future. Do not face a DUI in PA alone. If accused of DUI in PA, seek counsel immediately.
Can you plead down a DUI in PA?
Yes, it’s possible to plead down a DUI in PA. But, because DUI is thought to be a serious public safety issue, prosecutors and law enforcement do not give away DUI cases lightly. The best plea agreements come from a position of strength. Strength comes from the proven ability to evaluate and combat DUI accusations in whatever form they come.
What is the best plea deal for DUI?
This obviously depends on the facts of the case. The best plea agreements come from a position of strength, which comes from the proven ability to evaluate and combat DUI accusations. It goes without saying that the best way to resolve a DUI is to beat it outright – to have the charges dismissed prior to trial - so don’t rule out the possibility that you may have a defense to DUI that you aren’t currently aware of. If you haven’t already, you should seek the counsel of an experienced DUI lawyer for skilled evaluation of your case.
How do you beat a DUI in PA?
There are so many possible ways to beat a DUI in PA. From factual defenses, constitutional infirmities, suppression of evidence, and pretrial diversion, there are too many possibilities to list here. DUI cases are highly fact specific. Start by hiring a skilled DUI lawyer.
What can a DUI be reduced to in PA?
It depends on the case, but it's possible for a DUI to be reduced to a non-DUI misdemeanor, a summary offense, or withdrawn altogether. Depending on the case, it’s also possible to get your BAC reduced, which will reduce your punishment for DUI.

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