Many people in Pennsylvania face DUI charges each year. In an attempt to cut down on drunken driving, the Pennsylvania legislature has enacted strict DUI laws. The penalties for a DUI conviction have increased and those with multiple DUI offenses potentially face even more serious penalties. Despite the strict laws and increased penalties, however, those charged with a DUI still have certain rights following an arrest. The prosecution also still must prove that they were driving under the influence beyond a reasonable doubt before convicting the person.
Police officers recently stopped a man because they suspected him of driving under the influence. The man was driving a motorcycle and submitted to field sobriety tests. He also took a breath test which allegedly stated that his BAC level was .06 percent. Normally this would be below the legal limit of .08 percent. According to police, however, the man had a suspended license due to a previous DUI-related offense and .06 is three times the legal limit for a person with a suspended license due to a previous DUI-related offense. The police also charged the man with other offenses relating to the suspended license.
For first time DUI offenders in Pennsylvania, the penalties may include a mandatory minimum sentence in addition to license suspension, fines and an ignition interlock device. The penalties increase as the BAC level increases to higher levels. The penalties for a second DUI offense are harsher and include minimum jail sentences, even if the person is at a BAC level of .08 percent, in addition to license suspension.
Even when facing a second DUI offense, the accused party has rights and defenses available. The police need to have a legal reason to pull the person over and need a reasonable suspicion the person is under the influence. If the stop was not legal, the whole case may be dismissed.
Every person in Pennsylvania facing DUI charges has rights and possible defenses available. An experienced DUI attorney may be helpful in informing an accused person of rights and options and can advocate for the accused person so that those rights are protected.
Source: The Express Times, “Motorcyclist from Fountain Hill charged with drunken driving” Express-Times Staff, Oct. 14, 2013