Bucks County Felony DUI Attorney

The Pennsylvania Driving Under the Influence (DUI) Association reports that the number of motor vehicle crashes that were alcohol-related rose to 10,346 in 2017. The number of fatalities in such crashes in Pennsylvania that year totaled 293. Among the drivers who were killed while under the influence of alcohol, 49% were between the ages of 16 and 25. In the last five years, alcohol-related fatalities are slightly declining.

 

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

Crashes

11,041

10,550

10,558

10,256

10,346

Fatal Crashes

363

311

321

270

280

Understanding Driving Under the Influence (DUI)

The Pennsylvania Code prohibits driving under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances. Drivers may not “drive, operate, or be in physical control” of a vehicle when they have consumed alcohol to a level that makes them unable to drive safely. The current threshold for alcohol concentration is .08%, which is measured with a breath or blood test.

Driving Under the Influence of Controlled Substances

In recent years, a movement to target “drugged driving” has been underway. The Pennsylvania Code currently prohibits drivers from operating a vehicle with any Schedule I controlled substance or its metabolites in their blood. It also prohibits operating with any Schedule II or Schedule III controlled substance or their metabolites in their blood unless prescribed by a physician.

Pennsylvania: A “Zero Tolerance” State

Pennsylvania is referred to as being a “zero tolerance” state for DUI. For example, if a test detects even a trace amount of THC, a marijuana metabolite, the motorist may be charged with DUI. This has been the subject of considerable debate, as unlike alcohol, levels of impairment associated with marijuana are unable to be accurately quantified. Trace amounts of marijuana can often be detected resulting from use that occurred days or weeks earlier.

Felony Charges for DUI

Aggravated assault by vehicle while driving under the influence (§3735.1) is a second-degree felony offense. This occurs when a driver is operating under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance and negligently creates serious bodily harm. The term serious bodily injury implies that there is a “substantial risk of death” or creates disfigurement or impairs the ability to function.

Homicide by vehicle while driving under the influence (§3735) is an offense that may be a first or second-degree offense depending on whether the individual has a previous DUI conviction or diversionary resolution. The offense involves a driver unintentionally causing a fatality. Those convicted of the second-degree offense must serve a minimum of three years in prison or a minimum of five years for first-degree offenses.

Related Felony Sentencing

A first-degree felony, for the exception of murder or attempted murder, is punishable by up to a maximum of 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000. A second-degree felony is punishable by up to a maximum of 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000.

Other Penalties for DUI

  • Driver's license suspension: Driving privileges are subject to suspension for a period of between 12 and 18 months. This is based on the blood alcohol concentration at the time and the number of prior offenses.
  • Ignition interlock: Ignition interlock devices may now be court-ordered to be installed in the offender's vehicle. The driver must submit a breath sample into a tube in order for their vehicle to start. Currently, all repeat DUI offenders are subject to this requirement for at least a period of one year.
  • Victim impact panels: The courts may require an offender to attend a program, which is often facilitated by organizations such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving. In these forums, offenders are able to hear personal accounts of those victimized by impaired driving.

Criminal Defense Attorney for Felony DUI Offenses

An arrest for driving under the influence of alcohol that involves a severe bodily injury or death may lead to serious felony charges. Attorney Joseph D. Lento has the experience and skills necessary to effectively defend clients facing these and other similar offenses. Contact the office today at (888) 535-3686 for a consultation.

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Attorney Joseph D. Lento has more than a decade of experience successfully resolving clients' criminal charges in Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania counties. If you are having any uncertainties about what the future may hold for you or a loved one, contact the Lento Law Firm today! Criminal defense attorney Joseph D. Lento will go above and beyond the needs of any client, and will fight until the final bell rings.

This website was created only for general information purposes. It is not intended to be construed as legal advice for any situation. Only a direct consultation with a licensed Pennsylvania and New Jersey attorney can provide you with formal legal counsel based on the unique details surrounding your situation. The pages on this website may contain links and contact information for third party organizations – the Lento Law Firm does not necessarily endorse these organizations nor the materials contained on their website. In Pennsylvania, Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout Pennsylvania's 67 counties, including, but not limited to Philadelphia, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, Berks, Lancaster, Lehigh, and Northampton County. In New Jersey, attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout New Jersey's 21 counties: Atlantic, Bergen, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Essex, Gloucester, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Salem, Somerset, Sussex, Union, and Warren County, Outside of Pennsylvania and New Jersey, unless attorney Joseph D. Lento is admitted pro hac vice if needed, his assistance is educational advice, and does not constitute legal advice or the practice of law. The decision to hire an attorney in Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania counties, New Jersey, or nationwide should not be made solely on the strength of an advertisement. We invite you to contact the Lento Law Firm directly to inquire about our specific qualifications and experience. Communicating with the Lento Law Firm by email, phone, or fax does not create an attorney-client relationship. The Lento Law Firm will serve as your official legal counsel upon a formal agreement from both parties. Any information sent to the Lento Law Firm before an attorney-client relationship is made is done on a non-confidential basis.

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