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DUI Attorney in Pennsylvania
Getting arrested and charged with driving under the influence can be a shock. Pennsylvania has strict and complex DUI laws in place, with penalties ranging from fines and probation to as many as five years in prison. The key to dealing with a DUI charge is knowing the law and turning to experienced legal advice for help. A DUI is a serious criminal offense, not a traffic violation, and good representation is essential.
If you are facing DUI charges in the Pennsylvania area, call Brian Manchester, an experienced DUI defense attorney in Pennsylvania. Call today. It is important to start working on your defense right away.
DUI: Double Punch in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania defines driving under the influence in two ways. First, it is a crime to drive or control the movement of a motor vehicle after drinking enough alcohol to render yourself an unsafe driver. This is known as “driving under the influence” (DUI) or “driving while impaired” (DWI). Second, it is illegal to drive or control a motor vehicle after drinking enough alcohol that your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is more than 0.08 within two hours of your arrest, the legal limit in every state. This is known as the “per se” rule. Typically prosecutors rely on the per se rule, while the other definition serves as backup. But sometimes prosecutors use the distinction between these two statutes to double-charge defendants, charging them once for having alcohol or drugs in their blood and again for driving erratically due to intoxication.
Different DUIs for Different Drivers in Pennsylvania
DUI cases in Pennsylvania are divided into a three-level system. At the bottom are defendants charged with blowing between 0.08 and 0.099. For a first offense, penalties at this level include six months probation, classes, treatment and fines. The second level includes drivers charged with blowing between 0.10 and 0.159, along with drivers from the first level whose charges involve property damage or personal injury. Commercial drivers who blow 0.04 or higher, school bus drivers who blow 0.02 or higher, and minors who blow 0.02 or higher also fall into this category. For a first offense, penalties here include between two days and six months in jail, plus a one-year license suspension, classes, treatment and fines. The third level includes drivers who blow higher than 0.16, as well as impaired drivers who refuse to submit to breathalyzers or other BAC tests. This group faces penalties including between three days and six months in jail on a first offense, plus a one-year license suspension, classes, treatment and fines. Penalties at each of these levels increase substantially for subsequent offenses.
DUIs and Drugs in Pennsylvania
Driving under the influence of any controlled substance is illegal in Pennsylvania unless the drug has been lawfully prescribed — and you have a prescription to prove it. There is no legal limit; driving or controlling a vehicle with any amount of any illegal drug in your bloodstream constitutes driving under the influence. This includes drug metabolites, which in some cases can linger for days or even weeks after drug use. In other words, it isn’t a question of impairment, it’s a question of presence: The presence of any illegal drug in your system while driving is a DUI. This is a third-level DUI offense, punishable by three days to six months in jail on a first offense, along with a one-year suspension, classes, treatment and fines.
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