Motorists facing drunk driving charges could be stuck with long term consequences. Now, under a new Pennsylvania law, motorists charged with drunk driving face a difficult choice. They may plead guilty and agree to drive with an ignition interlock device. This device measures the alcohol content of a driver's breath and will prevent the vehicle from starting if the driver has been drinking.
Most Pennsylvanians know that the laws that the state and federal government have put into place were enacted to protect the rights and safety of all who live in those jurisdictions. Family laws are in place to ensure that relationships are given their legal weight and so that children's needs are not lost during divorces and separations; contract laws are necessary to work out problems when challenges to agreements arise; criminal laws are enacted to deter crime and to punish those who have allegedly violated the laws.
When it comes to evaluating a person's level of intoxication, many Pennsylvanians think of the blood or breath-based tests that law enforcement officials may administer to learn of a person's blood alcohol concentration. A person's blood alcohol concentration, often shortened to BAC, is a number that indicates the amount of alcohol that is in a person's body. State laws are written with BAC in mind and with intoxicated driving charges generally applying when a driver's BAC reaches or exceeds .08.
In 2003, the legal blood alcohol limit in Pennsylvania was lowered from .10 to .08. The law also created tiers for punishment and treatment regarding driving under the influence (DUI.) It takes into account a Defendant's DUI offense history, rather than simply applying an across the board sentence and license suspension or revocation.
Law enforcement and quotas is something that has been debated since the beginning of time it seems. Lehighton residents who are arrested for drunk driving may feel like law enforcement was out to get them. A new lawsuit alleges that Pennsylvania State Police troopers have a quota they need to meet each month for drinking and driving.
Many people who are caught driving under the suspicion of alcohol consumption are asked to take a field sobriety test when they are pulled over. Most are unaware that this test is voluntary, and a party is not required to consent to it. However, if a party chooses to refuse, he or she should do so respectfully. Acting aggressively or out of control gives an officer reasonable suspicion of intoxication, and therefore can lead to arrest.
Drunk driving laws, penalties and consequences vary by state but some penalties and consequences can generally be expected associated with DUI charges. For example, jail time, license suspension and fines are possible as a result of drunk driving accusations. There are two common components of a DUI charge including criminal penalties and administrative consequences.