If you've been arrested and charged with a DUI, you may be wondering what you're facing. Unfortunately, there's not a simple answer. Since 2003, Pennsylvania has maintained a tiered system for dealing with DUI offenses. That system includes nine different offense categories, each one with its own set of penalties. Figuring out where you fit can be complicated.
DUI Offense Categories
In simplest terms, your DUI offense category is based on two factors. The first of these factors is your blood alcohol content (BAC) at the time of your arrest. The law delineates three BAC levels:
- General impairment: .08-.099% BAC
- High BAC: .1-.159% BAC
- Highest BAC: .16% or higher BAC
The second factor is your offense history, and again there are three basic levels:
- No prior DUI offenses
- 1 prior DUI offense
- 2 or more prior DUI offenses.
The Pennsylvania DMV notes that current law "focuses on treatment for first-time DUI offenders, rather than strictly punishment and suspension." In keeping with that philosophy, convicted first-time offenders with only general impairment are guilty of an ungraded misdemeanor. They face up to six months probation and a $300 fine. In addition, they must attend alcohol highway safety school and may be ordered into an alcohol treatment program.
At the opposite extreme, drivers with the highest BAC and at least two previous convictions for DUI face between 1 and 5 years in prison, an 18 month suspended license, between $2,500 and $10,000 in fines, and one year with an ignition interlock device that prevents you from driving if you've been drinking.
You Need John D'Intino
It really doesn't matter if you're being charged at the lower or upper ends of Pennsylvania's DUI tiers or if you're charged somewhere in the middle. You need skilled legal representation to help you defend yourself. The police and prosecutors may tell you the case is cut and dried and advise you to simply accept your assigned penalties. Don't believe them. You need someone in your corner who can help make sure the authorities respect your rights and don't charge you unfairly or at the wrong offense level.
Attorney John D'Intino is an accomplished attorney when it comes to DUI defense. He's represented hundreds of clients just like you and helped them get the justice they deserved. He knows the law. He knows the system. He knows how to get you the justice you deserve.
For more information or to find out how John D'Intino can help you with a DUI, contact the D'Intino Law Firm in Pennsylvania today at 267-491-9111.