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DUI in Pottstown

One of the most common criminal charges in Pennsylvania is driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI). However, even if it is someone's first run in with the law, they face serious penalties, including possible jail time, driver's license suspension, and a criminal record. Before you plead guilty to a DUI charge, make sure you understand your rights.

Driving Under the Influence in Pennsylvania

Drunk driving in Pennsylvania involves operating a vehicle while impaired by alcohol. There are three tiers of DUIs in Pennsylvania, based on the amount of alcohol in the driver's blood:

  • General impairment (0.08% to 0.099% BAC)
  • High BAC (0.10% to 0.159% BAC)
  • Highest BAC (0.16% and higher BAC)

Breath and Blood Chemical Tests

As a condition of driving in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, drivers are considered to have given their “implied consent” to submitting to a chemical test after a DUI arrest. This evidence will be used against you in court. However, even if you refuse to take a breath or blood test, you may still face criminal prosecution.

After an arrest for driving under the influence, the police or trooper may tell you that you will have your license suspended if you refuse a chemical breath or blood test. If you refuse a breath or blood test after a DUI arrest, you may face increased penalties. If you were involved in an injury accident, the police may force you to submit to a blood test even if your refuse.

Penalties for Drinking and Driving in Pennsylvania

The penalties for a DUI in Pennsylvania depend on the amount of alcohol involved and the driver's criminal record. Refusing a chemical test after a DUI is subject to the highest BAC penalties, regardless of the driver's actual alcohol level.

General Impairment (Blood Alcohol Content of 0.08% to 0.099%)

First Offense

  • Up to 6 months probation
  • $300 fine
  • DUI school

2nd DUI within 10 years

  • 12 month license suspension
  • 5 days to 6 months in jail
  • $300 to $2,500 fine
  • DUI school
  • 1 year ignition interlock device

3rd or subsequent DUI within 10 years

  • 2nd degree misdemeanor
  • 12 month license suspension
  • 10 days to 2 years prison
  • $500 to $5,000 fine
  • 1 year ignition interlock device

 

High BAC (Blood Alcohol Content of 0.10% to 0.159%)

First Offense

  • 12 month license suspension
  • 48 hours to 6 months prison
  • $500 to $5,000 fine
  • DUI school

2nd DUI within 10 years

  • 12 month suspension
  • 30 days to 6 months prison
  • $750 to $5,000 fine
  • DUI school
  • 1 year ignition interlock device

3rd DUI within 10 years

  • 1st degree misdemeanor
  • 18 month license suspension
  • 90 days to 5 years prison
  • $1,500 to $10,000 fine
  • 1 year ignition interlock device

4th or subsequent DUI within 10 years

  • 1st degree misdemeanor
  • 18 month license suspension
  • 1 to 5 years prison
  • $1,500 to $10,000 fine
  • 1 year ignition interlock device

Highest BAC (Blood Alcohol Content of 0.16% and higher)

First Offense

  • 12 month license suspension
  • 72 hours to 6 months prison
  • $1,000 to $5,000 fine
  • DUI school

2nd DUI within 10 years

  • 1st degree misdemeanor
  • 18 month license suspension
  • 90 days to 5 years prison
  • $1,500 to $10,00 fine
  • DUI school
  • 1 year ignition interlock device

3rd or subsequent DUI within 10 years

  • 1st degree misdemeanor
  • 18 month license suspension
  • 1 to 5 years prison
  • $2,500 to $10,000
  • 1 year ignition interlock device

In addition to fines, jail time, a suspended license, IID, and DUI school, the court can also order drug or alcohol treatment. This may include counseling and drug or alcohol testing at the driver's expense.

Loss of Your Pennsylvania Driver's License

Many drivers find the most difficult part of a DUI conviction is the loss of their driver's license. A conviction for a first-time DUI below 0.10% BAC will generally not lead to a license suspension. However, any other conviction, including high BAC or multiple DUI offenses, will lead to the loss of your license for 12 months or more. Refusing a chemical test after a DUI arrest can also result in a loss of your license for a year.

Ignition Interlock Device (IID)

An ignition interlock device (IID) is installed in a driver's car to test for alcohol. Before the car can be started, the driver has to blow an alcohol-free breath into the device. The device will also require regular breath samples while the car is driving. Any failed tests will be logged and reported to the courts. Additionally, any tampering with the IID will be reported.

Any driver convicted of a 2nd or subsequent DUI within a 10-year period has to have an IID installed on all vehicles before they will be able to drive again. Drivers also have to pay for the cost of installation, calibration, and maintenance of the IID.

Driving Under the Influence of Drugs

Drivers can also be arrested for driving while impaired by drugs. This includes street drugs (like heroin or marijuana), as well as prescription medication. Any drug that impairs a driver's ability to safely operate a vehicle can subject a driver to a DUI. The police generally test for the presence of drugs with a blood or urine sample.

Contact Us

A conviction for a DUI can result in expensive fines and the loss of your driver's license. A DUI can also affect your job and your family. Before you plead guilty to a drunk driving charge make sure you understand your options and your rights. Criminal defense attorney David J. Cohen is devoted to representing the people of Pottstown, Pennsylvania, and surrounding areas. Contact the David J. Cohen Law Firm, LLC today for a consultation.

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