Driving under the influence (DUI) is a crime that can land you in a serious amount of trouble. Whether you are caught with a low or high level of alcohol in your system, you can face several criminal penalties if you are convicted for a DUI. If you are a student at Lehigh University and you were arrested for driving under the influence, contact an experienced Philadelphia DUI defense lawyer.
At Young, Marr, Mallis & Associates, our defense lawyers are ready to help you pursue a desirable outcome to your DUI case. We understand that every person is prone to make mistakes, and we are here for you. To schedule a free consultation to discuss your legal options, contact Young, Marr, Mallis & Associates at (215) 607-7478, or contact us online.
Pennsylvania Driving Under the Influence Laws
In Pennsylvania, it is illegal for a driver to be behind the wheel of a vehicle if they have a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of .08 or above. It is also illegal for a driver to have constructive control over a vehicle while they are intoxicated. For example, if a driver falls asleep while in the driver’s side of their vehicle with their keys in hand, this is considered constructive control over a vehicle.
It is also important to note that Pennsylvania has three levels of DUI that a defendant should know about: general impairment, high BAC, and highest BAC.
General Impairment Penalties
General impairment means that a defendant had a BAC level between .08 and .099. If a defendant is convicted for being this intoxicated while driving, they can be sentenced to six months of probation and owe $300 in fines if it was their first DUI offense. A person can also be arrested for a DUI even if they are under the BAC level of .08%. This typically occurs because law enforcement discovered a person driving erratically after the driver consumed some level of alcohol.
The penalties for DUI increase depending on the circumstances of the defendant’s case. For example, if a defendant had two or more prior DUIs, and they were convicted for another, their DUI offense will be upgraded to a second degree misdemeanor. In Pennsylvania, second degree misdemeanors carry a maximum of two years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
A defendant may also have to attend a rehabilitation program and have an ignition interlock device installed in their vehicle. An ignition interlock device prevents a driver from starting their car unless they are completely sober. Enlisting the aid of another person to start your car can result in additional criminal penalties. Additionally, being convicted for DUI may also result in your license being suspended for a year.
High BAC Penalties
In Pennsylvania, a .10 to .159% BAC level is considered a high BAC. If a defendant has no prior DUIs and they are arrested with a high BAC, they can serve up to six months in prison and pay up to $5,000 in fines. Two or more prior DUIs will upgrade this crime to a first degree misdemeanor. First degree misdemeanors carry a maximum penalty of five years in prison and $10,000 in fines.
Like the general impairment penalties, a defendant may have to attend rehabilitation and have an interlock device installed on their vehicle. Additionally, the term of their license suspension could be increased to 18 months.
Highest BAC Penalties
If a driver’s BAC level falls at .16% or higher, this is the highest BAC criminal penalty zone. When a driver does not have any prior DUIs, being convicted of driving with a BAC level of .16% could result in a maximum six-month prison sentence and $5,000 in fines.
However, if the defendant has a prior DUI on their record, the crime will likely be considered a first degree misdemeanor. As mentioned, the penalties for a first degree misdemeanor are up to five years in prison and $10,000 in criminal fines.
As a student, being convicted of a DUI at any level can cause serious issues in your academic and personal life. Depending on the rules for disciplinary proceedings at your institution, our legal team can help you mount a defense against the charges weighed against you.
Our Experienced Philadelphia Criminal Defense Attorneys are Here for You
If you or a family member was arrested for a DUI offense, contact an experienced Philadelphia criminal defense attorney. The legal team at Young, Marr, Mallis & Associates has decades of combined legal experience, and we will utilize that knowledge to represent you in your DUI Case. Our firm will assist with your criminal case and any disciplinary proceedings instituted your university. To schedule a free legal consultation, contact Young, Marr, Mallis & Associates at (215) 607-7478.