When is a DUI a Felony in PA?
From Polish Hill to South Side Flats, Brookline, and everything in between – Pittsburgh police and Allegheny County prosecutors aggressively pursues charges against people suspected of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol (DUI).
DUI penalties are harsh in Allegheny County and may involve jail time as well as significant fines. An ordinary or first- time DUI in Pittsburgh is a misdemeanor. However, a DUI can be a felony, depending on the circumstances. This means even harsher sentences, longer license suspensions, and a lot more.
If you or someone you care about are charged with a felony DUI in Pittsburgh, you need an experienced DUI attorney. Let us take the time to listen and explain your options. Don’t hesitate to contact Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys, LLC Pittsburgh DUI attorneys at (412) 281-2146 for help. We offer free, initial consultations and are available 24/7.
Misdemeanor DUIs in Pittsburgh
Under Pennsylvania’s DUI laws, misdemeanor DUI charges mean that a person is suspected of driving a vehicle while having a blood-alcohol concentration of at least 0.08 percent. There are additional factors that determine the severity of the misdemeanor charge:
- For a first offense DUI, the minimum sentence is six months’ probation, and the maximum is six months in custody. The offender must also pay a $300 fine and attend an approved alcohol highway safety course. If there was a prior DUI conviction, the minimum jail term is five days and a fine. For a third or subsequent conviction, the minimum is 10 days and a higher fine.
- If the offender’s BAC is between 0.10 % and 0.16 %, then a first offense jail term is 48 consecutive hours and a fine. Second offenders are subject to a minimum of 30 days, 90 days for third offenders, and one year for fourth or subsequent DUI. Each tier also has increasing levels of fines.
- The most severe DUI misdemeanor involves a BAC of 0.16 % or higher. First offenders are subject to a minimum of 72 consecutive hours in jail and a fine. Second offenses carry at least 90 days, and third or subsequent DUI offenses carries at least one year.
When is a DUI Considered a Felony?
Certain aggravating circumstances may result in harsher punishments for DUI. These usually which involve harming another person while committing a DUI.
A separate Pennsylvania statute defines homicide by vehicle while driving under the influence. This is defined as unintentionally causing someone’s death as a result of driving under the influence of alcohol.
This results in a 2nd-degree felony charge and imposes a mandatory minimum prison term of three consecutive years for each victim.
If a DUI-related accident doesn’t cause death but does cause serious injury, the statute still considers it a 2nd-degree felony with a maximum prison term of 10 years.
Defending Against a Felony DUI
Because of the severe penalties involved, anyone charged with a felony DUI in the Pittsburgh area should immediately consult with an attorney. An experienced defense lawyer can walk you through the process from start to finish, and make sure you are protected.
Being charged with a DUI is stressful and emotionally draining, but you don’t go through it alone. There’s a lot a DUI lawyer can do. It may be possible to challenge that you were impaired at all by calling into question the sobriety tests used at the scene. In which case, any injuries were the result of an accident and should not be punished as a crime.
No matter the details, call our Pittsburgh DUI attorneys at (412) 281-2146 for a free, initial consultation today. Let us review your situation and expplain all your options.
Our attorneys have years of combined experience in criminal defense that they will put to work for you. Review some of the favorable results we’ve secured in DUI cases a lot like yours.