The strict laws in Pennsylvania could result in a DUI (Driving Under the Influence) charge if you get pulled over while driving, even after a single drink. However, the level of penalty that you may receive depends on several factors like blood alcohol content, criminal history, and damages.
It would be best to contact one of the expert DUI lawyers in Erie to fully prepare for the hearing process. Recently, the Pennsylvania State Police, as a part of Operation Nighthawk, arrested 57 people for DUI charges in Erie County.
In case of a DUI charge, it is essential you have accurate information and support on your side, as ignorance cannot be a reason for a weak defense.
Different Types of DUI Charges in Erie
Driving Under the Influence is an offense wherein the person is driving or is in control of the vehicle when under the influence of alcohol or any other controlled substance.
Three Tiers of DUI Offenses
Depending on how much blood alcohol content (BAC) level was recorded when you got pulled over, the DUI offense can be categorized into three tiers.
- Tier 1: The first tier is general impairment and applies to drives within the BAC range of 0.08 to 0.10.
- Tier 2: The second tier is called high rate and applies to drives within the BAC range of 0.10 to 0.159.
- Tier 3: The third tier is the highest rate and applies to drivers above the BAC of 0.160.
If convicted, the sentences will vary according to the tier level. Contact any of the experienced DUI lawyers in Erie to understand the type of offense and the process to be followed ahead.
It is important to note that a DUI is a stackable offense, meaning that if you are convicted again, the penalties would be higher considering your history.
If you have received a DUI for the first time in Erie County, you might get a deferred verdict and probation. You might also qualify for the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition program, which offers alcohol education classes. On successful completion of the program, the concerned authorities will remove the offense from your record.
The different penalties according to the tiers are:
DUI legislation in Pennsylvania says that if it is your first offense, the minimum sentence would be probation and a flat fine of $300. If it is your second offense under this tier, the sentence might be jail time between five days to a maximum of six months. Also, your license will be suspended for a year.
In case of four or more offenses, you might face jail time of a minimum of seven days and a maximum of seven years.
Under this tier, without ARD, the minimum jail time is 48 hours to a maximum of six months. In addition, your license might be suspended for a year, along with a fine.
In case of four or more offenses, jail time can increase to a maximum of seven years, a suspension of 18 months, and a minimum fine of $1,500.
Under the last tier, you could get a minimum of 72 hours and a maximum of six months jail time. The fine can range from $1,000 to $5,000, along with your license being suspended for a year.
In case of three or more offenses, jail time could be between one and seven years, suspension of 18 months, and a fine ranging from $2,500 to $15,000.
When charged with a DUI in Erie, you must have a strong defense prepared to prove your innocence or reduce the level of penalties you might face. The severity of your offense, and the corresponding penalty, will both depend on factors such as blood alcohol content, extent of damage caused (if any), and even criminal history.
So, if you’re ever charged with DUI in Erie, Pennsylvania, you must get in touch with a DUI lawyer immediately, and make sure you don’t speak to the authorities without your lawyer present by your side.
Whatever the offense, experienced DUI lawyers in Erie can negotiate the best deal for you and ensure the fines or penalties aren’t too harsh.