Every state has laws against drunk driving, though the details— including BAC levels required to qualify for the offense and the penalties — vary. This post deals with DUI laws in PA only.
In Pennsylvania, general impairment charges call for a BAC between .08 and .099 percent and no property damage or bodily injury. Penalties are up to six months probation and/ or a $300 fine. Then there are the high and highest impairment, for which the BAC varies for the operator of a school bus, a commercial vehicle, or a general vehicle. These levels of impairment naturally call for heavier penalties.
A person who has been arrested on DUI charges may be called for a hearing before the Department of Motor Vehicles, in addition to being brought before a judge in court. The two processes are completely independent of one another; they differ in that a DMV hearing is entirely administrative in nature, being held solely to determine whether to suspend or revoke the driver’s privileges. The presiding officer is not interested in determining whether or not the subject is guilty of the crime. Therefore, the only topics that are brought up include whether the arresting officer had reasonable cause to believe the suspect to be guilty of a DUI violation; the arrest was a lawful one; and whether the suspect submitted to or refused to take a blood, breath or urine test.
The suspect is not required to attend a DMV hearing, the results of which have no bearing on the court process. And if his license was suspended or revoked as the result of a DMV hearing but the suspect is subsequently found innocent in a court trial, then that suspension or revocation can be reversed; such a reversal will not take place if the DUI charge is reduced to a lesser one, such as reckless driving.
At The McShane Firm in Harrisburg, we do everything we can to help those who are being charged with drunk driving. We know DUI laws in PA and will do everything in our power to make sure you are protected and defended fairly.