Many people think that a DUI (driving under the influence) without a crash or injury to another person is a minor charge. Those individuals would quickly discover how mistaken they are if they ever face arrest for a DUI charge in the state of Pennsylvania.
Charges can end up sending you to prison, costing hundreds or thousands of dollars in fines, getting your license taken away and even making problems for your professional life. Many employers take disciplinary action against employees who have DUI offenses incurred during their employment. Worse still, it can be difficult to secure a new position later.
If you or someone you love is facing a DUI charge in the state of Pennsylvania, you need to have an experienced criminal defense attorney review the details of your case as soon as possible. Sometimes, a medical condition like undiagnosed diabetes or other, more rare conditions can contribute to a failed roadside sobriety test. Other times, issues with the performance of a breath test could have it excluded from evidence at your trial. To determine what your best options are, you should speak with an attorney as soon as you’ve been arrested for a DUI offense.
Penalties for DUIs vary on level of intoxication and number of offenses
Like many states, Pennsylvania’s DUI penalties and charges are based on the blood alcohol content (BAC) of the alleged offender at the time of his or her arrest. The higher your BAC, the greater the potential penalties. DUI charges generally stem from having a BAC of 0.8 percent or higher. Those with a BAC of 0.8 percent – 0.99 percent are considered generally impaired. First-time offenders face a $300 fine, an upgraded misdemeanor charge, alcohol highway safety school and up to three months of probation.
Second offenses result in 12 months without a license, a fine of between $300 and $2,500, between 5 days and 6 months in jail, alcohol safety school and the requirement for an ignition interlock system for a year when you get your license back. Additional offenses include a 12-month license suspension, 10 days to 2 years in prison, alcohol safety school requirements, a fine of between $500 and $5,000 and having an ignition interlock system.
If your BAC is higher, between 0.10 percent and 0.159 percent, first offenses carry a 12-month license suspension, requirements for alcohol safety school, between 48 hours and 6 months in prison and a $500 to $5,000 fine. Second offenses result in 30 days to 6 months in prison, a fine of between $750 and $7,500, alcohol safety school, loss of your license for a year and an ignition interlock system for a year after that. Subsequent offenses carry even more penalties.
For those with a BAC of 0.16 percent or higher, penalties for a first offense include 72 hours to 6 months in prison, a fine of between $1,000 and $5,000, loss of your license for 12 months and alcohol safety school. Subsequent offenses carry steeper penalties. Those with two or more prior DUIs could face up to 5 years in prison and a fine of $10,000, plus loss of their license for 18 months and a year of ignition interlock after that.
Don’t face a DUI alone
If you or someone you love is facing any kind of a DUI charge, you need the help of an experienced Pennsylvania criminal defense attorney. The higher the BAC and the more previous charges, the more important it becomes to have an experienced attorney advocating for you. Don’t risk your freedom and your future.