In Pennsylvania, lawyers refer to DUI/DAI cases in several different ways: drunk driving, driving under the influence (DUI), driving while impaired (DWI) or the more recent term driving after imbibing (DAI). Pennsylvania lawyers stand ready to assist clients accused of drunk driving so they can learn the various complexities of the law as it applies to their specific cases. Nobody should face this stressful, high-stakes issue alone!
Being arrested for violating Pennsylvania laws governing DUI will bring about not just one case, but two. In the court proceedings, the accused defendant faces a wide array of possible consequences, among them financial penalties, mandatory alcohol education programs, loss of driving privileges, and even jail time. Additionally, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDot) will initiate separate proceedings to revoke the driver’s license.
Pennsylvania has a strict, no-nonsense stance against driving under the influence of drugs. This “per se” law means that if an arrestee has any measurable level of certain drugs in their blood, they will be punished as harshly as if they had the highest level of alcohol content in their system. A qualified Pennsylvania lawyer may be able to help negotiate the best results possible for clients accused of this offense.
How harsh the punishment will be for breaking Pennsylvania laws regarding DUI offenses depends on how high the alcohol level. Pennsylvania law has a three-tiered system: one level of punishment for drivers with a blood alcohol content of .08 to .099%, another level for blood alcohol levels from .10 to .159%, and the maximum punishment for drivers with blood alcohol levels of .16% or higher. The higher the person’s blood alcohol content, the greater risk-taking behaviors they will generally engage in, which is the primary reason for the multiple levels of punishment.
Pennsylvania law also provides for harsher punishment for multiple DUI/DAI offenses, which will also depend upon alcohol content. Second, third, and fourth-time offenders will face greater penalties than first-time offenders. Pennsylvania’s former legal limit of .10% has also been reduced to .08, which adds yet another class of DUI/DAI offenses. Prior DUI/DAI offenses, for purposes of Pennsylvania’s multiple offender law, are calculated as occurring within a 10-year period.
Additionally, DUI/DAI offenses also trigger an automatic administrative suspension of the driver’s license for one year per conviction if the driver refuses a chemical test. This sanction a separate administrative action taken by the Department of Transportation pursuant to Pennsylvania’s implied consent laws and has nothing to do with the actual court case.
Police officers are required under Pennsylvania law to give drivers suspected of drunk driving an implied consent warning, which means they must inform the driver of the requirement to take a blood, breath, or urine test to determine alcohol content, if any. The operator has the right to refuse taking such a test, however this refusal comes with a price: an automatic one-year loss of operating privileges. A Pennsylvania lawyer can assist clients with appealing this action directly to a civil trial. The appeal must be filed and served no later than 30 days after operator’s notice from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.