The Pennsylvania DUI Association revealed there were more than 10,000 vehicle crashes and 290 fatalities involving a drunk driver in 2017. Statewide, there were an average of 28 crashes and nearly one fatality each day resulting from driver impairment. Nearly 75% of those involved in alcohol-related accidents are male and roughly 71% of these accidents occur after dark.
Northampton County Data
In 2017, there were approximately 3,092 vehicle crashes in Northampton County. In roughly 295 of these accidents, one or more drivers were determined to be impaired. The vast majority of traffic accidents are the result of human error. For example, there were 95 accidents attributed to speeding, and 346 resulting from driver distraction.
Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol
The Pennsylvania DUI law prohibits driving, operating, or maintaining control of a vehicle by an individual who is unable to safely control the vehicle due to alcohol consumption. In a traffic stop, a member of law enforcement that has reasonable grounds to believe that a driver is intoxicated may ask the driver to submit to chemical testing. Those who refuse to comply are subject to a suspension of their driver's license and other penalties. For alcohol, the threshold for defining impairment is a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08%.
Driving Under the Influence of Controlled Substances
Drivers may be charged with DUI for operating a vehicle with a Schedule I controlled substance or its metabolites in their blood. The same applies to Schedule II and III controlled substances that have not been prescribed by a doctor, as well as other solvents or noxious agents that create impairment. This determination is made through a blood test.
BAC: 0.08 - 0.099%
BAC: 0.10 - 0.159%
Pennsylvania Recently Implements Felony DUI Law
The state recently added provisions that allow some habitual DUI offenders to be charged with a third-degree felony. A prior DUI is considered to be any conviction in the last 10 years. This will apply to third-time offenders with the highest level BAC (.16%) and all of those with a fourth conviction.
All convicted felony offenders will have an 18-month license suspension and must have their vehicle equipped with an ignition interlock device for one year. These are devices that require a driver to submit a breath sample to start the vehicle's ignition.
Other penalties include:
- Third-Offense Felony: From one to seven years of imprisonment and a fine ranging from $2,500 and $10,000
- Fourth-Offense Felony (General): From ten days to seven years of imprisonment and a fine ranging from $500 and $15,000
- Fourth-Offense Felony (High): From one to seven years of imprisonment and a fine ranging from $1,500 and $15,000
- Fourth-Offense Felony (Highest): From one to seven years of imprisonment and a fine ranging from $2,500 and $15,000
The Importance of Securing an Experienced DUI Defense Lawyer
Lawyers typically focus on certain areas of practice such as real estate, litigation, family law, labor, and dozens of others. Those facing allegations of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs are strongly encouraged to seek representation from an attorney who operates in the realm of criminal defense every day. Your attorney will strive to ensure that your rights are protected and formulate an effective defense strategy.
Attorney for Aggressive DUI Defense in Northampton County
Were you recently arrested for DUI and have a prior offense(s)? The Pennsylvania legislature is now charging some habitual offenders with a felony that can result in up to seven years in prison and attorney Joseph D. Lento knows how to mount an effective defense. Contact the office of the Lento Law Firm at (888) 535-3686 today for a consultation.