According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the leading cause of traffic fatalities in most states is speeding. In Pennsylvania, there were 1,310 traffic fatalities in 2012, of which 408 were related to alcohol impairment and a slightly higher number of fatal accidents were related to speeding.
Pennsylvania treats drinking and driving very seriously. If you were speeding or in an accident and alcohol was involved, you may have been charged with drunk driving, or DUI (driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs). A DUI conviction can impact not only one’s personal freedom, but also one’s driving privileges.
If you were arrested in Pennsylvania and charged with a DUI, please call us to schedule a free initial consultation with a DUI lawyer.
How BAC Factors into Reinstatement
Each individual’s arrest and circumstances are different so the defense strategy your lawyer constructs for you will vary depending on the facts of your case. Pennsylvania has a tiered approach for DUI charges and subsequent consequences. The court system handles the criminal DUI charge and the driver’s license consequences are administered through the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.
The driver’s license consequences are tiered as well and include:
General Impairment DUI for blood alcohol concentration (BAC) below .10 percent and incapable of safe driving:
- No suspension for a first offense if the driver meets certain criteria
- Driver’s license suspension of 12 months for second or subsequent offense
A High BAC DUI offense (greater than .10 percent BAC and less than .16 percent) can result in:
- Driver’s license suspension of 12 months license suspension for first and second offense
- Driver’s license suspension of 18 months for third or subsequent offense
A Highest BAC DUI offense for BAC of .16 percent or greater:
- Driver’s license suspension of 12 months for the first offense
- Driver’s license suspension of 18 months suspension for second or subsequent offense
Pennsylvania keeps track of any drunk driving charges you may be charged with in other states. An out-of-state DUI conviction will result in no suspension for the first offense and a 12-month driver’s license suspension for the second or subsequent offense.
An experienced DUI attorney can work with you to regain your driving privileges as your court case is being prosecuted and defended. You will have several options to explore with your attorney:
- Ignition Interlock: You may be able to drive with the installation of an ignition interlock device. While inconvenient, and potentially costly, it at least permits an individual to drive to work and other necessary locations.
- Financial Hardship Exemption: Some drivers can obtain an exemption from the requirement to install an interlock device, or it may be required on only one vehicle, and not all vehicles owned or driven by the person charged with a DUI.
- Employment Exemption: Some drivers may need to drive their employer’s vehicles and can obtain an exemption from an ignition interlock device on company cars. School buses or large passenger vehicles are excluded from this exemption.
If you are required to have an ignition interlock device, and you bypass the device or violate its method of operation, the ignition interlock device period can be extended for an additional 12 months.
When you obtain an attorney to represent your interests after being charged with a DUI, several things will happen at the same time. Your attorney will:
- Represent your interests with Pennsylvania Department of Transportation to regain your driving privileges
- Challenge the evidence or procedures to obtain dropped charges
- Negotiate with the prosecution for lesser charges or lesser punishment
- Represent you in court, should your case go to trial
At any step along the way, your attorney will explain your choices to you so you can weigh the risks and benefits or your decisions.
Restoring Your Pennsylvania Driving Privileges
Without driving privileges, you may be unable to go to work, transport your children or accomplish your other day-to-day tasks. In addition, PennDOT manages a point system which is designed to help improve driving habits and ensure safe driving. Points are added for a DUI offense as well as other driving offenses such as speeding. Corrective actions begin when there are six points on a person’s driving record and can include driver’s license revocations as well as suspensions.
Contact us to set up an initial consultation with a DUI lawyer who can represent your best interests.