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2 ways someone’s blood alcohol levels impact Pennsylvania DUIs

Prosecution for a driving under the influence (DUI) offense in Pennsylvania can lead to incarceration and a driver’s license suspension. Some people will experience professional and educational setbacks after a conviction or possibly even after their initial arrest.

One of the specific details about a DUI arrest that may have a profound impact on someone’s future is their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at the time of their interaction with the police. Gathering evidence of impairment is often a priority for law enforcement professionals, as they know that chemical evidence can help secure a conviction at trial. There are two primary ways in which someone’s BAC can impact their DUI case.

Being over the limit can automatically lead to arrest

Although someone may feel like their driving was perfectly fine, they will have still violated Pennsylvania state law if they got behind the wheel while their BAC was over the legal limit. For most drivers over the age of 21, the current limit for their BAC will be 0.08%. However, those driving commercial vehicles and those who are not yet old enough to legally drink have lower limits that apply to them. Anyone technically over the limit given their age and license type could face prosecution even if they claim their driving didn’t suffer because of their impairment.

Elevated BACs may lead to worst penalties

Pennsylvania actually breaks DUI infractions into multiple categories depending on someone’s BAC at the time of their arrest. Someone just at or over the legal limit will face lower consequences than someone whose BAC reaches 0.10% or more. A BAC between 0.08% and 0.99% will lead to general impairment charges, while those with a BAC between 0.10% and 0.159% will face high BAC charges and increased penalties. The final category is for anyone with a BAC of 0.16% or higher and has the most severe penalties possible.

The results of a chemical breath test can have a major impact on the likelihood of the state successfully prosecuting someone and on the penalties that the courts may impose after someone’s conviction. Challenging the accuracy of a chemical breath test or the legality of administering it could, therefore, be a viable option for those hoping to defend against DUI charges in Pennsylvania.


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