Anyone facing a charge of driving under the influence (DUI) in Pennsylvania faces an uphill battle. Pennsylvania lawmakers penalize DUI offenders with probationary driving periods and high fines. Multiple offenders face increased penalties, including mandatory jail time and up to $2,500 in fines.
The penalties do not stop there, though. Every DUI arrest is different and incurs different penalties. A drunk driver passed out behind the wheel at a stoplight will not face the same consequences as a drunk driver who caused a multiple-vehicle collision and severe injury. In these situations, Pennsylvanians must understand the penalties associated with an aggravated DUI.
What is an aggravated DUI?
Police charge offenders with an aggravated DUI based on the circumstances of the arrest and potential victims. The following actions may increase the penalties incurred from a DUI charge:
- Refusing a blood-alcohol content (BAC) test: Pennsylvania is an “implied consent” state, meaning that all drivers automatically consent to a BAC test when pulled over for a traffic violation. Refusing a test will result in higher penalties.
- Child passengers: Drunk drivers with minors in the vehicle will face significantly increased penalties and potentially additional criminal charges like child endangerment.
- Suspended license from previous DUI: Violating a license suspension carries significant administrative penalties, including longer suspension and a probationary period upon license reinstatement. The court may also require the driver to install an ignition interlock device (IID) on their vehicle.
- Speeding over 30 mph: Reckless driving may incur separate charges from the DUI.
- An accident resulting in serious injury or death: Drunk drivers who cause serious injury or death to another face heavy criminal penalties or even manslaughter charges. The court may completely revoke an offender’s driver’s license.
- Previous DUI conviction within ten years: Previous DUIs within ten years incur higher penalties, including jail time, enrollment in a substance abuse treatment program and traffic safety school.
- BAC over .08: Driving with a BAC over the legal limit of .08 will incur much higher penalties, extending jail time to potentially five years and increasing fines to $10,000.
Those facing a DUI charge can protect their rights
Those charged with a DUI have made a grave mistake, but still deserve their rights protected by law. Many DUI offenders find more success in reducing their sentences and fines with a lawyer familiar with Pennsylvania’s DUI laws.