What are the Consequences of a DUI in Pennsylvania?

With Halloween right around the corner, you might be planning your costume for a big Halloween bash or picking out the bars you are going to visit with friends. Have you planned a safe way home at the end of the night? The last thing you need is a DUI on your record.

In Pennsylvania, the consequences of your DUI are determined by your blood alcohol content (BAC) and previous offenses. However, your age, license type and whether you caused injuries or damages to another person can affect the penalties too. Generally, there are three tiers of DUI in Pennsylvania:

Tier 1: Your BAC is between 0.08 and 0.099 percent

  • For first time DUI offenses, you’ll likely face a small fine and be required to take an alcohol safety course.
  • If you have had one or more DUIs, then you’ll receive an automatic 12-month license suspension.

Tier 2: Your BAC is between 0.1 and 0.159 percent

  • If your BAC is between 0.1 and 0.159, then you will receive an automatic 12-month license suspension even if it is your first offense. If you have had three or more DUI offenses, then it will be 18 months.

Tier 3: Your BAC is 0.16 percent or higher

  • You will receive an automatic 12-month suspension for your first offense and an 18-month suspension for additional offenses.

The more DUI offenses you have had in the past, the greater the consequences. For example, if you are charged with a DUI and have had one prior DUI charge, then you will be required to install an ignition lock in your vehicle for one year after your license suspension expires. An ignition interlock is a device that keeps your car from starting if you do not pass a breathalyzer test first. You will have to pass a breathalyzer every time you want to drive your car. In addition, the likelihood of prison is greater once you have accrued more than one DUI.

Minors, school bus drivers, truck drivers and drivers who caused injuries or damages to another person could be subject to greater penalties even if their BAC is in the first tier. Driving under the influence of drugs or refusing breath and chemical testing could subject you to the greatest penalties.

If you have been charged with a DUI, you should contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. The DUI attorneys at Fiore & Barber, LLC represent clients in Montgomery County, Bucks County, Lehigh County and the surrounding areas. We could help you discuss your legal options. Call us today at (215) 256-0205 or contact us online.

What to Do if You’re Charged with a DUI on Labor Day Weekend

Labor Day Weekend is a weekend full of special events with family, friends and celebrations to commemorate the end of summer. However, like other holiday weekends during the year, many people will be drinking alcoholic beverages and putting themselves and others at risk while driving. Law enforcement will be on high alert during this three-day weekend in order to pull over suspected drunk drivers. If you are arrested and charged with a DUI on Labor Day Weekend, it’s crucial that you know what your next legal steps should be.

I’ve Been Charged with a DUI in Pennsylvania, What Do I Do Next?

First, it’s important that you immediately get in touch with a Pennsylvania criminal defense attorney who can guide you through the DUI charge and arrest process. You and your attorney will then go over the various factors associated with your specific arrest, such as if a field sobriety test was conducted, what your blood alcohol concentration was, and other important factors. Understand that Pennsylvania has an implied consent law, so if you refuse to take a chemical test you can be subject to fines and a license suspension.

Next, you should understand the different penalties you will be facing if you are charged with a DUI in Pennsylvania. If this is your first offense, you are likely to face a $300 fine. In addition, you could also be required to install an ignition interlock device (IID) on your vehicle if you refuse to take a chemical test. If it is your second or third offense, the severity of your penalties will increase. You could be facing anywhere from six months to two years in jail, $300 to $5,000 in fines, a year-long license suspension, and you could be required to use an IID while your license is restricted.

In order to avoid these harsh penalties, it is wise to take preventative measures before going out and drinking on Labor Day Weekend. Consider taking a ridesharing service, finding a designated sober driver, or host a party at your home instead.

If you have been charged and/or arrested for a DUI on Labor Day Weekend, you should contact our Pennsylvania criminal defense attorneys at Fiore & Barber today for a free consultation.

What Is New in Ridesharing Bills in Pennsylvania?

Uber and Lyft have been subjects of discussion in Pennsylvania, especially with lawmakers and tax specialists. The Philadelphia Parking Authority, or the PPA, has complained for a few years now that the state of ridesharing vehicles is appalling (severe physical damage, gas leaks, etc.) and that a new tax bill is in order. However, there are many conflicting opinions with the PPA that argue the problem is more complex.

Is There a New Tax Bill Regarding Ridesharing in Pennsylvania?

The PPA is arguing in favor of a change in the way taxis and ridesharing vehicles are taxed to raise funds for routine inspections. Specifically, a 50-cent tax is proposed for any car-for-hire in Pennsylvania. Uber and Lyft have disagreed with the new tax plan, and both companies have told the PPA that rideshare vehicles are safer than suggested in the state. Since last year, Uber and Lyft have actually passed 90 percent of all of their inspections, and these results raise further confusion on why the PPA wants to raise taxes.

The PPA continues their argument, stating that with the growing numbers of Uber and Lyft drivers every year, they are struggling to keep up with inspections led by limited staff. The PPA also argues that two thirds of rideshare tax revenue goes to the state’s school district and creating the tax levy would increase money for the district, from $3 million to $11 million a year.

The Pennsylvania Public Utilities Commission, however, disagrees that there is any problem with ridesharing in Pennsylvania. According to the committee’s chairwoman, the number of rideshare violations has been minimal. In conclusion, new legislation does not seem to be the current solution for Pennsylvania ridesharing right now. If you would like to keep up with ridesharing news in Pennsylvania, visit our firm’s website online or call for more information.

What Are My Possible Defenses After a DUI Arrest?

If you are ever charged with a DUI, you should know that the penalties for this type of charge can be pretty serious. If you have experienced a DUI arrest and you feel like you should fight the charge, understand that there are a few possible defenses that you could use in court. With a viable and well thought out defense, you could convince the prosecution to drop or reduce your charges, prevent your driver’s license from being suspended, or even win an acquittal at trial.

What Defenses Can I Use After I’m Arrested for a DUI?

The prosecution during your trial will try to prove that you were driving a vehicle and that you were “under the influence” while driving. Your defenses could either be related to the “driving” aspect or to the arrest procedures.

For a defense related to driving, you could argue that you weren’t necessarily driving. If you were parked and sleeping in your vehicle when law enforcement arrived, you could possibly have a good defense. Most states, however, don’t require proof of actual driving in order to be convicted for a DUI. Usually, the prosecution just needs to prove that you were “operating” or “physically controlling” the vehicle when you were intoxicated.

Another, and arguably easier defense for your DUI charge, is the defense related to how you were arrested. If you believe that the police officer didn’t follow the law when stopping and/or arresting you, you could use certain evidence to defend yourself.

Prove:

  • There was no probable cause for arrest: Police officers need probable cause to actually stop your vehicle, especially on the cause of a DUI suspicion. Traffic violations are usually the reason for the police’s probable cause, but if you believe the officer pulled you over for no legal reason, you could use this as a defense.
  • No Miranda warnings: Law enforcement is generally required to read your Miranda rights before questioning you while you are in police custody. If you made an incriminating statement in response to police questioning, and you were not given your Miranda warnings prior to this, the statement may not be admissible in court.

Our attorneys at Fiore & Barber can assist you if you were charged with a DUI and you want to fight your charge. Contact our firm today for a free consultation.

What Should I Do If I Am a Victim of a Hit-and-Run Car Accident?

Hit-and-run accidents are much harder to legally handle and investigate than other traffic accidents. Because the driver that caused the accident is unknown, it can be difficult to determine liability. Hit-and-runs also present some unique complications for victims in their pursuit of compensation.

What Are the Legal Consequences of a Hit-and-Run Accident?

In a civil injury lawsuit, victims may be able to recover punitive damages. Punitive damages are available if it can be shown that a defendant intentionally harmed the plaintiff or acted in a dangerous manner during the accident. Punitive damages are meant to punish another person (the defendant) in order to prevent poor conduct in the future as a warning to others. These types of damages are calculated based on the defendant’s lack of morality and how much money it would take to financially hurt them. Fleeing the scene of a crime is an intentional act, which is why the injury court will usually justify punitive damages in a hit-and-run incident. The plaintiff, of course, is also entitled to damages that compensate for medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, etc.

There can also be criminal consequences for hit-and-run accidents. If the person who was hit was injured or killed, the defendant could face significant jail time. This will all depend on the kind of damages or injuries that the accident caused, but criminal penalties can result in misdemeanor or felony charges.

Unfortunately, much of the time there is no way to hold the running driver fully accountable for their actions in a hit-and-run. Because of this, victims of hit-and-run accidents are often forced to collect from their own insurance policies.

If you have been a victim of a hit-and-run car accident, you should know what your legal rights are in your specific situation. Contact our car accident attorneys at Fiore & Barber, LLC today for a free consultation.

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