Being arrested for DUI is a frightening experience. You may not know what to expect and feel as though your situation is helpless. Know that you have options and that your circumstances aren’t as bleak as they may seem.
An experienced DUI attorney will guide you through the legal process, but it’s important that you understand what’s going on every step of the way.
Below you’ll find links to helpful resources and programs throughout the Commonwealth, provided by the experienced Pennsylvania DUI attorney at The Law Offices of Steven E. Kellis.
1. Legal Information
Latest DUI Legislation
Under Act 24, Pennsylvania’s legal limit of alcohol was lowered from .10 to .08. This change in law was signed into reality and enforcement in September of 2003.
Updated DUI law in PA has created a tiered approach toward the enforcement and treatment of DUIs. The changes from Act 24 include changes to penalties, terms of suspension, fines, and other requirements linked to DUIs.
The way that your DUI is measured under Act 24 is through:
- Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) level
- Prior offenses
- Licensing requirements
Title 75 of PA Vehicle Code
Title 75 of the PA vehicle code provides the requirements for the registration of your vehicle in Pennsylvania.
When you have been in an accident, the status of your vehicle’s registration and whether or not you have been legally driving on the road may impact the outcome of your DUI case.
It is through Title 75 that the license suspension requirements your DUI case will face are translated and applied.
2. Alcohol Treatment Programs in PA
The focus of Act 24 in Pennsylvania has been to increase the number of drivers who are eligible for a prospective DUI charge, and also to increase the focus on treatment.
While in the past a .10 BAC was necessary, which equates to about five drinks in an hour for a normal-sized person, it is now .08. That means that you need 25% less alcohol in your system to face the prospect of a DUI.
It is also important to understand the role of treatment programs in terms of your sentence and punitive measures. When you are ordered into treatment, your punishment will generally be impacted positively.
Working with an experienced DUI lawyer who knows what treatment options are available and which facilities have space can make the difference between a longer sentence and larger fine or something more manageable.
Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)
One of the many treatment options available to persons who have been charged with a DUI is AA Pennsylvania, or Alcoholics Anonymous Pennsylvania. AA PA is a state-wide recovery resource that is devoted to the support of men and women in the state who are struggling with alcoholism. AA provides help on a daily basis for those in need.
There are AA meetings across the state of Pennsylvania. When AA is a mandatory part of your DUI settlement, your attorney will help you identify AA meeting options that fit with your schedule and transportation ability so that you meet the requirements of your sentence and finish your AA requirements as soon as possible.
Outpatient Substance Abuse Treatment Facilities
Pennsylvania has many drug rehab centers that can be found by referring to online resources. Substance abuse includes the abuse of drugs or alcohol, and a DUI, which means driving under the influence, also covers illegal drugs.
What is relevant is the fact that a driver is impaired while they are driving, which limits their ability to drive safely and responsibly.
Outpatient centers require that you visit from time to time to receive your treatment, but they do not provide full-time, around-the-clock care. The unique facts and circumstances of your situation will determine whether outpatient care will work with your plan, or if inpatient treatment is instead necessary.
Inpatient Substance Abuse Treatment Facilities
When outpatient treatment options are not sufficient, inpatient substance abuse treatment centers may provide a path to recovery that minimizes the potential jail time and fines associated with your sentence.
An inpatient substance abuse treatment facility provides around-the-clock treatment options and generally a more extensive psychological support system to help the individual get past their substance issues.
3. Ignition Interlock Device (IID) Information
An ignition interlock is a device that is installed into a motor vehicle that prohibits the individual under the influence from operating the vehicle.
Prior to starting the vehicle, the individual must blow into the device. If alcohol is detected, the vehicle will not start. At random times during operation, the device may also require the driver to blow into it to double-check sobriety. The device must be leased, which can be costly.
Under the Pennsylvania ignition interlock law, it is mandatory for a first-time and repeat DUI offender with high blood alcohol levels to have an ignition interlock.
Additionally, those who receive an operating privilege suspension due to the refusal of a chemical test must also have an ignition interlock device installed in their vehicle.
4. Underage DUI Information
It is illegal for persons under the age of 21 to consume any alcohol. Under PA underage DUI laws, any person who is driving under the age of 21 will be subject to a lower blood alcohol limit than older drivers. To be guilty of a DUI, a person under the age of 21 needs only to have a blood alcohol content of .02%.
The standard BAC for a DUI is .08%, which as noted above is generally four drinks in an hour for an average-sized person. This means that if a person under the age of 21 has even one drink, they may have exceeded the BAC that is allowed and be subject to a DUI charge.
Underage DUI Laws and Penalties
When an underage driver is found to have a DUI in PA, they usually face a misdemeanor charge. Convicted drivers face the potential of six months in jail, but if it’s their third offense, they could be looking at a five year sentence.
Before being released on probation, the offender must serve a minimum of 48 hours in jail for the first offense, 30 days for a second offense, and 90 days for a third offense. There may also be fines of up to $5,000.
Pennsylvania’s Point System
The PA point system is in place to ensure that drivers stay safe on the road by assigning points for certain road violations to drivers. Once you reach six or more points, you receive a written notice and must take an examination. The second time, your driver’s license may be suspended.
Arrested for DUI? Call PA Attorney Steven Kellis
An experienced DUI attorney from Kellis Law Firm is standing by to consult on your case. Call (215) 977-4183 to schedule an appointment today.