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.
However, when the accident causes injury to someone other than the driver, the hit and run charge becomes a third-degree felony. This offense carries a punishment of up to seven years in prison and fines as high as $1,000.
In the most tragic cases where the accident results in a fatality and the driver flees, the charge escalates to a third-degree felony. Conviction for this crime can lead to a jail term of up to seven years and fines as high as $2,500.
Fleeing the Police
When you find yourself in a situation where you hear the siren blaring and see flashing lights behind you after causing an accident, it can be an extremely frightening experience. Many people tend to panic and flee, especially if they believe that their consumption of drugs or alcohol may have led to the accident. However, it is crucial to understand that fleeing from an accident and engaging in a full-blown high-speed chase with the police will result in serious charges of fleeing the police. This offense is taken very seriously by law enforcement officers, judges, and prosecutors.
Even if an accident does not occur, failing to pull over when signaled to do so by a police officer can result in charges of eluding the police. According to Pennsylvania law, a signal can be in the form of a hand gesture, the officer’s voice, or the use of sirens and emergency lights. Disregarding any of these signals can lead to charges of fleeing and eluding the police.
Typically, fleeing the police is considered a second-degree misdemeanor and carries a minimum jail sentence of two years, along with the possibility of fines as high as $2,000. However, if a driver attempts to flee and the situation escalates into a high-speed chase that endangers other drivers, crosses state lines, or if it is later determined that the driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the charge becomes a third-degree felony. In such cases, the punishment can include up to seven years in prison and a minimum fine of $15,000.
In addition to these severe penalties, fleeing the police can also result in the suspension of a driver’s license.
Implied Consent Law
Pennsylvania’s Implied Consent Law mandates that anyone with a driver’s license must comply with blood, breath, urine, or chemical testing upon request by an officer. Although drivers can decline the roadside sobriety test, refusal of other tests is not optional. However, before charging a driver with implied consent, prosecutors must establish that the officer provided a warning about the consequences of refusal. Failure to issue a warning prevents the prosecution from proceeding with the charge, but subsequent violations result in an 18-month license suspension.
If you find yourself facing any of these charges, it is crucial to retain the services of a Washington PA DUI attorney proficient in DUI law and procedures. Sean Logue and his dedicated associates at Logue Law, renowned Washington PA criminal attorneys in Washington, possess the necessary expertise to navigate your case. Fearlessly challenging the prosecution, they will tenaciously fight for the most favorable outcome. Get in touch with them for a free initial consultation at (844) PITT-DUI or 412-389-0805, or simply reach out online here. Logue Law proudly serves Washington, PA, Ohio, and West Virginia, providing steadfast advocacy and unwavering support.
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