Your bartender is a great guy. He mixes your drinks generously, but you’re smart, you only had two. You’re fine, right?
Chances are, you may feel fine, but two drinks mean you’re probably over the legal limit in terms of blood alcohol level. If you get pulled over, it’s a good bet there was some reason—failure to signal, a rolling stop sign—the police pulled you over. You may think you were driving okay, but you probably weren’t. Suddenly, those two drinks turn your life upside down. Taking chances is not a good idea when it comes to drinking and driving. And that’s the mild version.
Have an accident while driving intoxicated and you could be facing serious repercussions, especially if anyone is injured, or worse, killed.
As an attorney, the most I can hope to do in the majority of DUI cases is minimize the damage. Of course there are potential legal loopholes or improper procedures on the part of the police or even the testing facility, but in most DUI cases, the Blood Alcohol Content (BAC), if correctly administered in a timely fashion, is impossible to defend. Under Pennsylvania law, .08 BAC and above is legally drunk. Period.
If that’s the outcome, you’re going to face a Mandatory Minimum Sentence.
If that sounds bad, consider the true meaning: MINIMUM. That’s the base line best outcome you can hope for if found guilty, without considering any of the factors that may be in play.
The penalties for a first time offense are pretty severe. They include a minimum $500 fine, additional court costs of at least that much, if not even more, attendance at DUI classes, a mandatory drug and alcohol screening with an additional fee, and either 2 days in jail or a 4 day stay at “DUI Hotel”, a form of house arrest that is basically one step above actual jail. There’s no HBO or room service.
Your driver’s license will be suspended for at least one year and your auto insurance will automatically go up for at least five years. If you get a second DUI within ten years of the first, it’s big trouble. Frankly, a second or third offense can be a nightmare. And remember, these are mandatory minimum sentencing requirements. It takes some serious legal maneuvering to get any breaks in a DUI case.
If there are additional charges as a result, say drug possession or property damage, and even the presence of prior criminal history, the sentencing can be harsh, and without the right representation to argue for leniency, or point out relevant mitigating circumstances, it could get ugly.
PKN Law is committed to providing our clients with the very best defense, and should you get a DUI, we will do everything possible to minimize the impact on your life and career, but we’re not gonna paint you pretty pictures. DUI is serious business.
So this New Year’s Eve, do us a favor. Take a cab. Ride the bus. Call a friend who’s sober, or just pass out on a friend’s couch. Don’t drink and drive. Bring in the New Year with good cheer and good friends. We don’t mind losing a little business if it means everyone rang in the New Year with joy. Thank you for a great 2014 and Happy New Year to all!