A drunk driving charge in Pennsylvania can either be a misdemeanor or felony. There is a significant difference in the potential legal penalties if you are found guilty, some of which may have lifelong effects.
The level of charges you will face depends on the facts of your case. Here is what you should expect if you are facing drunk driving charges.
Are you a repeat offender?
Repeat offenders tend to have it rough in DUI cases. In PA, if you have three or more convictions of driving under the influence within the past ten years, you will face felony charges on your fourth and subsequent DUIs.
However, you can still face felony charges on your third conviction if:
- You refused a chemical test under the implied consent laws
- Your blood alcohol level (BAC) was 0.16 or higher
- There were minors in your car at the time
- You were under the influence of a controlled substance during your DUI arrest
All of these can aggravate a DUI that would have otherwise been a misdemeanor to a felony.
Did your DUI involve injury or death?
If you cause serious bodily injuries to another individual or a fatal accident while drunk driving, you will face felony charges.
What are the penalties?
The jail time and fines for these offenses vary. Felonies tend to carry hefty sentences, and you may be looking at several years in jail or thousands in fines.
A DUI charge is not to be taken lightly, as a misdemeanor or a felony. If you are facing a DUI charge, a well-spirited defense can help you go against your charges and avoid the consequences of a guilty verdict.