Last August, Pennsylvania earned the state a rather dubious distinction. WalletHub named the state as one of the top five in the nation with the most lenient penalties for drunk driving offenses. The state came in fourth in the survey.
In our previous blog post, we discussed how alcohol can impact your ability to drive. If you recall, those effects are serious and can easily make you a danger to yourself and others if you opt to drive drunk. This doesn't mean that avoiding drunk driving is always going to be easy, but it is certainly something that is worth the effort.
People often take medications or do drugs without ever thinking about how that decision could impact their ability to drive safely. The fact of the matter is that drugs, including medications that are legal, can impair you. If you are caught driving while you are impaired, you could face criminal charges for driving under the influence of drugs. This is akin to drunk driving charges.
Pennsylvania laws take a harsh stance on drunk driving. Anyone who is found to have a blood alcohol concentration of .08 percent or higher is subject to criminal charges. The exact penalties you are facing depend on your actual BAC and any prior offenses you have on your record.
As many young people prepare to go off to college within the next month — many to the numerous prestigious colleges and universities here in Pennsylvania — parents worry about their kids being on their own for the first time. One of those worries involves excessive drinking and, worse, drinking and driving.
A dentist and his wife have fought against short prison sentences in fatal hit-and-run accidents is now facing the criminal justice system for driving drunk. The man and his wife lost a 5-year-old son in 2012 when a driver struck them as they were crossing the street. After learning that the man who struck their son could face only a year in jail, the couple pushed for an increase in the minimum incarceration period for hit-and-run accidents.
It's been 11 years since the national president of Mothers Against Drunk Drivers started on a crusade to get Pennsylvania legislators to pass a new DUI law. That law will require ignition interlock devices for many first-time drunk driving offenders.
A lot of Pennsylvania drivers will be so worried about the criminal consequences associated a potential DUI conviction that they forget about the financial costs of a conviction. Indeed, a DUI can be extremely expensive even if an individual is not convicted of the crime. For financial reasons alone, drivers accused of DUI may want to contract the services of an experienced DUI defense lawyer to defend them against the allegations.
In an effort to decrease the number of highway crashes and deaths, reduce the number of people convicted of a second or subsequent DUI offense and to increase highway safety, the state of Pennsylvania passed the Ignition Interlock Law. When someone is convicted of a second DUI or more, he or she is required to have an ignition interlock system on each vehicle that he or she owns, leases or operates for at least a year. However, a one-year suspension of his or her driver's license must be served first.
In Pennsylvania, there are three levels for a charge of driving under the influences of alcohol or drugs. These levels are based on blood alcohol content. They are: