Driving under the influence is serious anywhere, but Pennsylvania takes a hard stance on those who drive while impaired. In some suburban areas, like Chester County, it is even more strict. For instance, if you test double the legal limit or significantly above .08%, it means heightened consequences that will impact your license, your freedom, your financial status, and your future.
So, if your BAC was over .16% in Chester County, let attorney Michael Skinner help. While having a high BAC is serious, there is a lot an experienced DUI lawyer can do.
The penalties you face after a DUI depend on how many previous offenses you have and how high your BAC is at the time. When you blow double the legal limit, you can expect some of the stiffest punishments that Pennsylvania courts can hand down.
If this is your first DUI, you still face penalties for driving at the highest level of intoxication. This is a misdemeanor with a 12-month license suspension. The court may order you to spend between 72 hours and six months in custody. The fines range from $1,000 to $5,000, in addition to court fees. You will also have to attend alcohol highway safety school and the court may order you to complete substance abuse treatment.
Your penalties increase if you have prior DUI convictions.
For a second DUI, you will have your license suspended for 18 months, and likely spend between 90 days and five years in custody. Fines range from $1,500 to $10,000 and you will have to attend alcohol highway safety school. You’ll be ordered to have an ignition interlock device installed for one year, and you may have to attend treatment for substance abuse.
Those with more than one prior DUI will also have their licenses suspended for 18 months. Prison sentences range from one to five years and fines range from $2,500 to $10,000. Treatment may be ordered and you will have an ignition interlock device in your vehicle for one year.
There are several options that may still be available to you after being arrested with a BAC over .16%. You may just decide to plead guilty, take your penalties, and try to move forward. But don’t forget that a DUI conviction comes with many consequences beyond those mandated by the court.
Your DUI defense attorney may argue for you to enter the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition program. This program is an option even if your offense involved a BAC over double the legal limit. However, it is not available to those with a prior conviction or ARD completion in the 10 years before the current charges. It is also not available to those with felony convictions or those whose actions caused death or serious bodily injury.
Your license will be suspended for 60 days and if your BAC was .30% or over, you will have an interlock device for one year. Those selected for the program must complete 60 hours of community service.
In other situations, your attorney may fight to have your charges reduced or dropped. If your traffic stop was unlawful or the arrest did not follow proper protocol, your attorney could have your case thrown out.
You may notice one common thread across the various options discussed. All of the possible outcomes involve hiring a criminal defense attorney first.
If you try to defend yourself, you run the risk of having the book thrown at you when it comes to penalties. Prosecutors and judges in Chester County are hard on DUI offenders, and issue harsh penalties. Without previous legal experience, you aren’t likely to know how to defend yourself, especially against a high BAC.
An attorney can look for holes in the other side’s case, explore errors in the DUI testing process, have harmful evidence suppressed, and fight for penalties that are less likely to ruin your career opportunities.
If you have been arrested for driving with a BAC over .16%, you need to hire a Pennsylvania DUI attorney as soon as possible. Skinner Law Firm is ready to learn about your case and create an aggressive defense that protects you.