You face increased, longer-lasting penalties for a Driving Under the Influence charge when you are double the legal limit of .08%. This means higher fines, extended license suspension, and more jail time.
Even if this is your first offense, a DUI conviction for double the limit costs you time, money, driving privileges, and potentially a criminal record. However, several factors influence your specific case. There are strategies to help you avoid conviction or the harshest penalties.
What Factors Influence DUI Penalties?
The court considers several factors when determining penalties for a DUI that is double the legal limit. You should also know that Pennsylvania has varying legal limits depending on your age, license, and occupation.
Legal Limits: What’s Considered Intoxicated?
For most drivers, blowing a 0.08% is considered legally intoxicated. For others, the limit is lower:
- Commercial driver’s license holder, school bus driver, or under 21: 0.04%
- School bus driver and under 21: 0.02%
Under these guidelines, a person with a CDL is double the limit with a BAC of 0.08%.
Other Factors that Influence DUI Penalties
Being double the limit is bad enough, but your penalties could be worse if you:
- Are higher than double the limit (0.16%+)
- Have prior DUIs
- Injured or killed someone
- Caused property damage
- Refuse a field sobriety test, chemical test, or both
Defenses to a DUI
One of the most common defenses to a DUI is questioning the validity and procedures of your chemical test, traffic stop, and arrest.
Chemical Test Error
Breathalyzers must be regularly calibrated for accurate results. Officers administering the test and reading the result must have proper training. You could seek a reduced charge or even a dismissal for questionable test results or testing procedures.
There could also be a medical reason why your BAC was high, such as hypoglycemia. If you have diabetes or another medical condition that could explain a high BAC, you may pay for a second chemical test.
Traffic Stop Error
Police officers in Pennsylvania must have reasonable evidence that you are driving under the influence, such as weaving or erratic behavior. A damaging chemical test could be suppressed if you can show that the police pulled you over in error.
Arrest Process Error
Sometimes police officers fail to read a suspect their rights or make another error during the arrest. If this happens to you, it is possible to seek a dismissal.
Negotiate to a Lesser Charge
If this is your first DUI offense or there are issues with your case, the prosecution may offer a plea deal. To avoid the harsher penalties of a DUI for double the limit, you would plead guilty to a lesser offense. You could avoid steep fines, losing your license, or going to jail by accepting a plea bargain.
Pennsylvania’s ARD program is an alternative to jail for first-time, non-violent offenders. The Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) program generally involves probation, fines, court costs, and community service. There may also be a treatment component. Upon completion, you may seek to have your record expunged.
Penalties for DUI Double the Limit
The penalties for a specific DUI vary, depending on the BAC, injuries, prior convictions, and other factors.
The sentence for this criminal offense might include:
- Six months in jail to five years in prison
- Community service
- Drug or alcohol treatment
- Ignition interlock system (blow and go)
- Fines from $500 to $10,000
- Victim restitution
Know Your Drinking Limits
People don’t intend to drive with a BAC over the legal limit. Unfortunately, it’s easier than you think to reach the point of legal intoxication.
According to a Notre Dame chart on alcohol consumption, a 120-pound woman will reach 0.08% BAC after drinking two beers. A 160-pound man reaches 0.08% after consuming three beers.
Facing DUI Double the Limit Charges?
If you face a DUI with a BAC double the legal limit, call Worgul, Sarna & Ness today for a free consultation. A DUI defense lawyer may be able to get your charges dismissed, reduced, or help you apply for a diversionary program that eliminates jail or prison.
Call 412-281-2146 for help with your DUI case.