Every year, many people in Pennsylvania are charged with driving under the influence (DUI). DUI offenders frequently have no prior criminal record or experience with the criminal justice system. DUI charges can vary depending on the circumstances of the offense. A person may be charged with multiple DUI offenses based on a single incident.
The legal blood alcohol content (BAC) limit in most states is the same. However, many states have finely crafted (or not so finely crafted) laws concerning drinking and driving.
Pennsylvania DUI Law
The penalty for driving under the influence in Pennsylvania is largely determined by the number of prior convictions you have. Pennsylvania DUI laws prohibit being in actual physical control of or driving a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or while having traces of controlled substances in your blood.
In the early 2000s, the Pennsylvania State legislature established three distinct categories of DUIs. Each grade focuses on both punishment and treatment for offenders. ACT 24, which reduced Pennsylvania’s legal drinking amount from 0.10 to 0.08, was signed into law on September 30th, 2003.
The new law makes numerous changes to suspensions, fines, penalties, and other requirements.
The combination of your blood alcohol content (BAC) level and prior offenses determine your licensing requirements and penalties. This law prioritizes treatment for first-time DUI offenders over harsh punishment and suspension.
DUI is coded under Title 75, Section 3802 of the Pennsylvania Vehicle Code, which also covers other vehicle offenses such as registration, driver’s licenses, and moving violations. Most traffic violations are considered summary offenses, but DUI is typically considered an ungraded misdemeanor. However, for repeat offenders, some DUI offenses are classified as first or second-degree misdemeanors.
Pennsylvania DUI Offenses
There are nine types of DUI offenses in Pennsylvania
- Section 3802(a1) -no refusal; no accident; incapable of driving safely because of alcohol consumption.
- Section 3802(a): An adult driver with a BAC of.08 to.099 after two hours of driving.
- Section 3802(a1): Incapability to drive safely due to alcohol consumption, resulting in property damage or bodily injury.
- Section 3802 b-An adult driver who, after driving for two hours, has a BAC range of between.10 and.159.
- Section 3802 c-An adult driver who, after driving for 2 hours, has a BAC of.16+.
- Section 3802 d-Driving when under the influence of a controlled substance.
- Section 3802 e-A Minor is an individual below the legal drinking age, driving while under the influence, and has a BAC of.02+ after driving for two hours.
- Section 3802 f-A school vehicle driver with a BAC of.02+ or a commercial vehicle driver with a BAC of.04+.
- Refusing to take a breathalyzer or a blood test
Pennsylvania DUI Charges
In Pennsylvania, the criminal penalties increase from the first to the second to the third DUI offense. In terms of DUI conviction criminal penalties, Pennsylvania differs from many other states, and they vary depending on the blood alcohol level of the driver in question. According to Pennsylvania law, there are three types of DUI charges based on the number of DUI offenses.
- General impairment or a per Se; a BAC level range of between .08 and .099 percent.
- High rate, which is a BAC level range between .10 and .159 percent.
- The highest rate is a BAC range of.16 percent and above.
DUI Penalties in Pennsylvania
First-time DUI offenders who do not cause an accident face the lightest penalties. That is, they must attend an alcohol highway safety course, but their license will not be suspended. The highest tier of offense programs, on the other hand (Section 3802 c and d), will result in a twelve-month license suspension and three days in jail.
Though all DUIs are eligible for ARD, the program is primarily reserved for individuals who have never been convicted of a criminal or DUI offense.
If you are a third or subsequent DUI offender, in addition to losing your license and facing jail time, you will also face the following penalties:
- Paying a significant fine or fee amount.
- An ignition interlock device in your vehicle
- Attending alcohol and drug treatment.
- The chances of your auto insurance dropping or skyrocketing to prohibitively expensive levels are slim.
How a Pennsylvania DUI Lawyer Can Help
Following your arrest, you will be sent a court summons with the date and location of your preliminary hearing. It is in your best interest to retain the services of an experienced DUI attorney at this point. An experienced DUI lawyer can examine the evidence and advise you on how to plead and whether or not your case will go to trial.
A professional, experienced DUI lawyer can assist you whether you are a first-time or repeat DUI offender. They have the legal knowledge to use a variety of defenses to help reduce or dismiss the charges against you. Among these defenses are, but are not limited to:
- Constitutional rights violations.
- Improper handling of your breath, blood, or urine test.
- The law enforcement officer failed to give O’Connell a warning.
- Procedural violations.
- You were not the one driving the vehicle.
- Being stopped illegally.
- If your field sobriety tests were not administered properly.
A person with no legal training or experience may struggle to understand what to do in a legal situation. Their lack of legal knowledge and trial experience will work against them in court. Hiring a professional DUI lawyer ensures that you enter the courtroom with confidence.
Call a Pennsylvania DUI Defense Attorney, Today!
Wyland Law Group is a criminal defense law firm with a dedicated team of Pennsylvania DUI lawyers highly skilled in DUI laws and defense with great experience in handling DUI cases. We will handle your DUI case with expert legal representation to ensure a favorable outcome. Mr. Wyland was previously a deputy district attorney.
Visit us at 5458 Steubenville Pike, Suite D, McKees Rocks, PA 15136 for more information on DUI offenses in Pennsylvania. To request a free consultation, you can also reach us by phone at (412) 710-0013.