One of the areas of my practice is criminal law. As the summer approaches, my office always notes large increases in Driving Under the Influence offenses. In fact, there are over 50,000 arrests each year in Pennsylvania for Driving Under the Influence offenses. It is the most commonly committed state crime in Pennsylvania each year. This month’s submission will help explain some basic facts about this crime. Firstly, there are several different types of DUI’s under Pennsylvania law, including DUI’s related to alcohol consumption, drug consumption, and general impairment offenses. The most common type of offense are DUI’s related to alcohol consumption. These offenses are graded into three separate levels, with punishments increasing at each level, based on the Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of a driver. There are different amounts of punishment involving both license suspensions and/or revocations and incarceration. As the number of DUI offenses increase, the potential punishments for an offender increase dramatically. Last year, for instance, the mandatory prison offense for a finding of guilt for a fourth lifetime DUI offense was raised to five years.
As the summer season begins, it is important to be mindful of these laws. An example of how Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) works may be helpful. The legal limit for BAC in a driver is .08. For a 180-pound man, this would be equal to four beers. For a 140-pound woman, this is just north of two beers. Naturally, if people were consuming hard liquor, then the legal limits of BAC will be attained at a much faster rate. In addition, any level of marijuana detected by testing is a DUI offense in Pennsylvania. As such, I implore my fellow Northsiders to be careful this summer. Please don’t drink and drive. Be safe and if you have any other questions about this complex area of law, please feel free to give me a call at my office.