DUI Related Offenses
Driving under the influence is a serious charge that can be accompanied by various other offenses. When a driver causes an accident, inflicts injuries, damages property, or attempts to flee the scene, the implications of a DUI escalate substantially. The charges faced by the driver depend on the circumstances of the case, and the severity of the penalties increases with the number of offenses. Some commonly associated charges in relation to a DUI include hit and run, fleeing the police, public intoxication, and implied consent.
In Pennsylvania, it is against the law to be in a public place and exhibit signs of drunkenness or substance influence in a way that poses a danger to oneself or others. Public intoxication is defined by the following actions:
- Annoying those around you
- Endangering yourself
- Endangering others
According to the law, a public place encompasses any area accessible to the general public, whether it’s privately owned but open to public access (such as a gated community or common areas of an apartment complex). If you cause a disturbance in such an area, you could be charged with public intoxication.
Public intoxication is classified as a summary offense in Pennsylvania and can result in a fine of up to $500. For second or subsequent offenses, the fine may be higher.
Hit and Run
When a person realizes they have caused an accident due to drug or alcohol consumption, their mind immediately races to the potential consequences of arrest. These daunting thoughts may lead some individuals to flee the scene, hoping to evade punishment. This act, known as a hit and run, results in even harsher penalties in the end. Judges and prosecutors take this crime very seriously.
The severity of a hit and run offense, whether classified as a felony or misdemeanor, depends on case-specific factors. Regardless, the punishments are significant. If the accident only involves property damage, the driver can face a third-degree misdemeanor, which may result in up to a year of imprisonment and fines of up to $2,500.
When an accident causes harm to someone other than the driver, the hit and run charge quickly escalates to a third-degree felony. This offense carries severe penalties, including up to seven years in prison and fines as high as $1,000.
But what happens when the aftermath of an accident turns tragic and the driver flees the scene? The charge of hit and run becomes even more grave, transforming into a third-degree felony. Conviction for this crime can result in a jail term of up to seven years and fines as high as $2,500.
Fleeing from the Police
Picture yourself in a situation where you hear the piercing siren and catch sight of flashing lights behind you after causing an accident. It can be an unnerving experience, causing panic to set in, especially if you suspect that drugs or alcohol played a role in the collision. However, it is crucial to comprehend that fleeing from an accident and engaging in a high-speed chase with the police leads to serious charges of evading the authorities. This offense is taken very seriously by law enforcement officers, judges, and prosecutors alike.
But even if an accident does not occur, failing to pull over when signaled to do so by a police officer can still land you in trouble. In Pennsylvania, any signal from an officer — whether it be through a hand gesture, voice communication, or the use of sirens and emergency lights — must not be disregarded. Ignoring any of these signals can result in charges of fleeing and eluding the police.
Typically, fleeing the police is classified as a second-degree misdemeanor and comes with a minimum jail sentence of two years, along with potential fines as high as $2,000. However, if a driver attempts to flee and the situation escalates into a high-speed chase that endangers others, crosses state lines, or involves driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the charge is bumped up to a third-degree felony. In such cases, the punishment can include up to seven years in prison and a minimum fine of $15,000.
Apart from these severe penalties, fleeing the police can also lead to the suspension of your driver’s license.
Implied Consent Law
Pennsylvania’s Implied Consent Law is a crucial regulation for drivers with a license. It requires compliance with blood, breath, urine, or chemical testing when requested by an officer. While drivers can refuse roadside sobriety tests, declining other tests is not an option. However, before charging a driver with implied consent, prosecutors must ensure that the officer provided a warning about the consequences of refusal. Failure to issue a warning prevents the prosecution from proceeding with the charge. Nevertheless, subsequent violations can lead to an 18-month license suspension.
If you are facing any of these charges, it is essential to have a skilled Washington PA DUI attorney on your side. At Logue Law, our dedicated associates, led by Sean Logue, are renowned Washington PA criminal attorneys proficient in DUI law and procedures. With their expertise, they will fearlessly challenge the prosecution, fighting diligently for the most favorable outcome. Contact us now for a free initial consultation at (844) PITT-DUI or 412-389-0805, or reach out online here. Logue Law proudly serves Washington, PA, Ohio, and West Virginia, offering unwavering support and steadfast advocacy.
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