In Pennsylvania, any BAC over 0.10 percent is considered extreme DUI. This is above the legal limit of 0.08 percent BAC. If you are charged with extreme DUI you will face harsh penalties. A high rate of blood alcohol is a BAC that is higher than 0.10 percent but lower than 0.16 percent. The highest rate of blood alcohol is when the driver has a BAC of .16 percent or higher. Drivers convicted of extreme DUI will face stronger penalties, including longer jail time and higher penalty fees. Additionally, if a driver with a high rate of blood alcohol causes an accident with injuries, vehicle damage, or property damage, the penalties are further increased.
Extreme DUI Sentencing Enhancements
DUI in Pennsylvania is considered, in most cases, a misdemeanor. The maximum sentence for DUI convictions is typically two years imprisonment. Sentencing enhancements are based upon two things:
- Prior offenses (conviction, adjudication of delinquency, juvenile consent decree, acceptance of accelerated rehabilitative disposition (ARD), or preliminary disposition)
- Refusal of chemical testing
If you have had any previous DUI convictions or dispositions under the current or prior DUI statutes in Pennsylvania or another state in the past 10 years, these prior offenses will be considered for sentencing. Previous DUI convictions place you in a penalty category that has stricter punishments. Refusal to submit to a breathalyzer or blood test will be punished with possible jail time and fines. These enhanced penalties will be applied at sentencing and the commonwealth must prove that you refused in order to apply penalties.
Fighting Extreme DUI Charges
Extreme DUI charges must be fought vigorously. It is important to seek legal help as soon as possible after being arrested for DUI. Your attorney will immediately take action by reviewing the tests that were done. In many cases, the results of the test may not be correct. An experienced DUI attorney knows the laws and understands how to best fight these charges. Just because you took a breath or blood test doesn’t mean that it was administered properly or that the results are correct. Your attorney will help you interpret and challenge the results.
DUI penalties are increased for drivers who are convicted of extreme DUI in Philadelphia. First-time offenders convicted of DUI with a high rate of blood alcohol face a mandatory prison sentence of 48 hours, a fine of up to $5,000, must attend driver alcohol highway safety school as well as other requirements that are at the discretion of the judge. This may include up to 150 hours of community service. If convicted of the highest rate of blood alcohol, the penalties increase. The penalties further increase for second- or third-time offenders. Commercial vehicle drivers and school bus drivers face increased penalties as well.
What to Do If You Are Charged with Extreme DUI
It is essential to get help from an experienced DUI attorney in Pennsylvania as soon as possible. The first thing that your attorney will do is review the charges against you and fight to get these charges reduced or eliminated. Additionally, if you are in jail, your lawyer will represent you at your hearing and will try to get your bail lowered. Once these important steps have been taken, your attorney will review the results of the BAC testing as well as the specifics of your traffic stop and arrest. An experienced DUI attorney will work to defend your case and maintain your legal rights. Talk to a courtroom-tested lawyer to assist in your defense.
Call the Law Offices of Steven E. Kellis today for a free consultation ((215) 940-1200) or complete our contact form.