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DUI and Alcohol Related Offenses

DUI

DUI and Alcohol Related Offenses

DUI and Alcohol Related Offenses

Penalties for Driving Under the Influence

I

f you have been charged with a DUI, it is understandable if you are unsure of what to expect. Penalties for DUI can be significant and have a far-reaching impact on your life. The attorneys at Masorti Law Group have a long history of success standing up for those accused of Driving Under the Influence. DUI laws across the country are complicated and Pennsylvania is no exception. We will conduct a thorough analysis and examine your case from every angle and, if necessary, we are not afraid to take your case to trial and fight for your innocence. A DUI conviction is a very serious matter and will remain on your public criminal record.

In Pennsylvania, there are three major categories of DUI. Each category is based on what your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was at the time of your arrest, as well as some other factors.

  • General Impairment – BAC of 0.08-0.099% or incapable of safe driving.
  • High Rate of Alcohol – BAC of 0.10-0.0159%. If there was an accident resulting in injury, death, or damage to a vehicle or property, you will automatically be placed under this category. Any minor with a BAC of over 0.02% will also be automatically placed in this category. Additionally, a commercial driver will fall into this category with a BAC of over 0.04% and a driver of a school vehicle, such as a school bus, will also fall into this category with a BAC of 0.02% or greater. A commercial driver or school vehicle driver can also fall into this category by merely being incapable of safe driving.
  • Highest Rate of Alcohol – BAC of 0.16% or higher. Refusing a Breathalyzer or blood test automatically places you into this category. A DUI charge that results from driving under the influence of drugs also falls into this category.

Each category carries different penalties that can vary depending on the circumstances. Here at Masorti Law Group, we have years of experience handling every kind of DUI.

First Offense

Second Offense

Third Offense or More

Depending on what level DUI you are charged with, you could face a variety of penalties:

General Impairment – Six months probation and a fine of $300. You must also attend an alcohol highway safety school.

High Rate of Alcohol – Imprisonment of a minimum of two days and a fine between $500 and $5,000. You must also attend an alcohol highway safety school and your license will be suspended for twelve months.

Highest Rate of Alcohol – Imprisonment of a minimum 72 hours and a fine between $1,000 and $5,000. You must also attend an alcohol highway safety school and your license will be suspended for twelve months.

In addition, if a minor under 18 years of age is in the vehicle, you will have to pay a minimum fine of $1,000 and complete 100 hours of community service.

A second offense will carry stiffer penalties. These penalties will also vary depending on which DUI you are charged with:

General Impairment – Imprisonment of a minimum of five days and a fine between $300 and $2,500. You must also attend an alcohol highway safety school and your license will be suspended for twelve months.

High Rate of Alcohol – Imprisonment of a minimum of thirty days and a fine between $750 and $5,000. You must also attend an alcohol highway safety school and your license will be suspended for twelve months.

Highest Rate of Alcohol – Imprisonment of a minimum of ninety days and a fine of at least $1,500. You must also attend an alcohol highway safety school and your license will be suspended for eighteen months.

In addition, if a minor under 18 years of age is in the vehicle, you will have to pay a minimum fine of $2,500 and be imprisoned between one and six months.

A third offense or higher will carry even harsher penalties. These penalties will also vary depending on which DUI you are charged with:

General Impairment – Imprisonment of a minimum of ten days and a fine between $500 and $5,000. Your license will also be suspended for twelve months.

High Rate of Alcohol – Imprisonment of a minimum of ninety days and a fine between $1,500 and $10,000. Your license will also be suspended for eighteen months. If this is a fourth offense or higher, you will face imprisonment of a minimum of one year and a fine between $1,500 and $10,000.

Highest Rate of Alcohol – Imprisonment of a minimum of one year and a minimum fine of $2,500. Your license will also be suspended for eighteen months.

In addition, if a minor under 18 years of age is in the vehicle, you will have to be imprisoned between six months and two years.

Injury or Accident

A DUI charge that stems out of an accident or injury will result in placement in the High Rate of Alcohol category. This means increased fines, potential jail time, and a longer driver’s license suspension period depending on the circumstances. Pennsylvania takes DUI accidents and injuries very seriously. In fact, this is exactly what the DUI laws are intended to prevent.

It is not uncommon, in the event of a DUI involving an accident or injury, for the person charged to also face charges in addition to DUI. These charges could include felony DUI injury, aggravated assault while under the influence, or homicide while under the influence. These charges are significant and carry even harsher penalties than a DUI conviction alone.

Civil liability may also attach where injury or an accident is the result of a DUI. A driver charged with Driving Under the Influence may also be tried in civil court by the victims or families of those injured. These families may seek damages for medical expenses, lost wages, emotional harm, and/or property damage.

Underage DUI

An underage drinking charge can be destructive enough, however, being charged with a DUI for underage drinking will automatically place you in the High Rate of Alcohol category, which means you will face potentially harsher penalties than if you had been 21 or older.  Your BAC also only has to be 0.02% or higher (as opposed to 0.08% of those over the age of 21) to be charged and found guilty of DUI.  The minimum penalties, as mentioned above, are at least two days in prison and a fine between $500 and $5,000.  Your driver’s license will also be suspended for 12 months.  This could likely also mean higher insurance rates and, if convicted, a crime that will remain on your public criminal record permanently. Having a serious crime on your record at this point in your life can have significant consequences, so it is important to get representation from seasoned attorneys who will get the best outcome for you and your future.

Under the Influence of Drugs

DUI charges involving drugs are a specialized type of DUI case in Pennsylvania. In Pennsylvania, if any amounts of drugs are found in your system when you are arrested, you will be charged under the Highest Rate of Alcohol category. This includes drugs that are both legal and illegal as long as they impair your ability to drive. The attorneys at Masorti Law Group are very familiar with DUI’s involving drugs and the highly specialized nature of this crime. Our extensive background enables us to provide you with an excellent defense to a crime that can have a very serious impact on your life.

Commercial and School Vehicle Drivers

A conviction for a DUI while operating a commercial or school vehicle will place you in the category for High Rate of Alcohol.  This means your license will be suspended for a minimum of 12 months, and your ability to work can therefore be impacted significantly.  To be convicted of a commercial DUI, you need only a BAC of 0.04%.  To be convicted of a school vehicle DUI, the BAC requirement is an even lower 0.02%.  The impacts of a conviction can be substantial.  In addition to the legal ramifications, you could also be in jeopardy of losing your job or being forced to undergo additional treatment or training through your place of employment. It is important that you reach out to us today to protect your livelihood.

Strong, early representation is almost a necessity to defend yourself in any kind of DUI case. The experienced attorneys at Masorti Law Group are not afraid to take these charges head on and work with you to eliminate or reduce your potential sentence. The magnitude of these consequences only make it more important to reach out to a skilled DUI attorney such as those at Masorti Law Group. Contact Us Now to schedule an appointment.