During 2017 in Pennsylvania, there was an average of 28 alcohol-related vehicle accidents per day. In Delaware County that year there were seven alcohol-related fatalities, an increase of roughly 14% over the prior year. The following data shows some clear patterns associated with these accidents in Pennsylvania.
- 74% of drivers in alcohol-related crashes were male
- 71% of alcohol-related crashes occurred during non-daylight hours
- 37% of fatal accidents during holiday weekends were related to alcohol
- There were 83 alcohol-related crashes on New Year's and 123 over Memorial Day weekend
DUI in Pennsylvania
Driving under the influence of alcohol or controlled substance (§3802) is an offense that states an impaired motorist may not drive “operate or be in physical control” of the movement of a vehicle. Any impaired motorist is one that has consumed a quantity of alcohol that makes them unable to safely operate a vehicle. Testing may be done to measure the concentration of alcohol using a blood or breath test. The threshold for this measurement of BAC is .08%.
Drivers are also prohibited from operating a vehicle when their blood contains a Schedule I drug or its metabolites. Schedule I substances are likely to be abused and have no medical use in the U.S. This also applies to Schedule II and Schedule III controlled substances when they are not medically prescribed. Schedule II drugs are prescription drugs that are likely to be abused.
Aggravated Assault DUI
A driver who is found to be operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance is generally charged with a misdemeanor offense. If the offender was involved in an accident at the time and caused severe bodily injury, they may be charged with aggravated assault by vehicle while driving under the influence. This is a second-degree felony offense, which is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a maximum fine of $25,000.
The charge of homicide by vehicle while driving under the influence occurs when the motorist “unintentionally causes the death of another person.” The offense may be either a second or first-degree felony offense. The upgrade to first-degree occurs when the driver has had a prior DUI or similar type of conviction. A first-degree felony offense is punishable by a prison sentence of up to 20 years and a fine of up to $25,000.
Your defense attorney will need to employ a defense that is based on the individual circumstances of each case; however, there are some commonly seen defenses.
- That it has not been proved that you were impaired. This is often used when there were no definitive chemical tests that are contrary.
- That the traffic stop prior to the arrest violated your rights. One example would be if you were subjected to a DUI checkpoint stop that did not properly conform to the guidelines.
- That the testing was improperly conducted or that the equipment used was not reliable at the time
Pennsylvania Criminal Defense Attorney for Felony DUI Cases
Those who have been arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance may be charged with a felony offense when injuries or fatalities occur. Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients in these cases by closely reviewing the accident details, evidence, and key facts in order to create an effective strategy of defense. Contact the office today for a consultation at (888) 535-3686.