The latest Pennsylvania DUI laws are designed to be more specific than previous laws. In addition to more specific definitions of DUI, there are also harsher penalties associated with DUI convictions. The laws are sometimes updated to include new provisions. The following DUI laws are the latest, with most of them having been updated in 2004.
Three Tiers of DUI Laws
In Pennsylvania, there are now three tiers of DUI. These are based on the blood alcohol content (BAC).
- General Impairment – Pennsylvania law states that a person is not allowed to drive a vehicle if they are unable to safely operate it. A person needs to be in physical control of the vehicle. The law indicates that anyone with blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 percent and under 0.10 percent is considered intoxicated. The BAC test can be done through a blood test or a breath test and must be completed within two hours after the person has driven a vehicle.
- High Rate of Alcohol – In Pennsylvania, an individual is considered to be intoxicated with a high rate of alcohol when the BAC is at least 0.10 percent and under 0.16 percent. The test must be taken within two hours of having driven or operated a motor vehicle. Physical control of the vehicle is also considered operation of it.
- Highest Rate of Alcohol – The highest rate of alcohol is any BAC over 0.16 percent or higher. This is considered to be extreme DUI. Again, the test must be taken within two hours of the operation of a motor vehicle.
DUI Laws for Minors
For the purposes of Pennsylvania law, minors are considered to be those who are under the age of 21. The legal drinking age is 21 years old. Anyone who is younger than 21 is not allowed to legally consume alcohol. Pennsylvania has a “no-tolerance” stance on underage drinking. A minor is DUI when they have BAC of 0.02 percent. Additionally, any consumption of alcohol is considered illegal and the minor can face other charges. A minor can have a driver’s license suspended for up to three months and may have fines imposed. When a minor has been found to be driving with a BAC higher than 0.02 percent, additional penalties will apply. It is important to note that a minor can be charged with DUI when any amount of alcohol is present.
Laws Relating to Refusal of Breath, Blood, or Urine Test
Pennsylvania has an implied consent law. Anyone who obtains a driver’s license is automatically agreeing to submit to breath, blood, or urine testing. The testing is usually requested by law enforcement officers as part of a traffic stop. A breath, blood, or urine test is done to determine the amount of alcohol in the bloodstream. Refusal to take a breath, blood, or urine test after being stopped for alleged DUI is illegal and automatically triggers additional charges. Refusal will result in suspension of your driver’s license for at least a year.
What to Do if You Are Charged with DUI
Those who are charged with DUI in Pennsylvania need to consult with an experienced attorney as soon as possible. Your attorney will represent you at your initial hearing and will analyze your case to determine a strategic defense. Each DUI case is different. Choose an attorney who specializes in DUI cases to be certain that you’ll receive an optimal defense.
Contact The Law Offices of Steven E. Kellis today for a free consultation.