Pennsylvania Laws When A DUI Results In An Accident Or Injury
When it comes to a DUI which resulted in an accident or injury, to either a third party or your passenger, sentencing enhancements are one of the main concerns and main reasons that you need an experienced attorney like those at Bompadre Law. Sentencing enhancements occur when the district attorney chooses to charge you with Vehicle Code or Crimes Code sections where these sentencing enhancements are allowed by law to be applied to your case. Several sentencing enhancements can affect your DUI charges in PA which will result in increased fines, increased jail time, and increased license suspension periods. Make sure you protect yourself and your rights under criminal and civil law when you are charged with a DUI in PA by contacting Bompadre Law and obtaining proper representation.
Sentencing Enhancements for DUI Accident Cases
DUI Accident, but no injury
If you are involved in an accident while DUI, but in which no one was injured, you are automatically placed into at least the Second Tier Impairment Level regardless of whether your BAC was below the 0.10% threshold for that tier. So even if your BAC were below 0.10% you will be exposed to the enhanced penalties for the 2nd tier, just because you were involved in an accident. You also may have to pay restitution for property damage caused by you, you may be exposed to civil penalties if you struck another driver, and you most likely will not be eligible for first offender programs in most counties just because you were involved in an accident. You also will face the enhanced license suspension penalties. Of course, if your BAC is above 0.16%, you will be exposed to the penalties for the Third Tier Impairment Level, which are even more severe, but with all the added exposure that comes from having been involved in a motor vehicle accident.
Aggravated Assault while DUI
Aggravated Assault while DUI is a Second Degree Felony charge that will be charged against you if you are involved in an accident which caused “serious bodily injury” to another person. This can be other drivers or passengers, or even someone riding in the car you were driving. This is an extremely serious charge that can carry severe punishments including a maximum of 10 years in jail and up to $25,000 in fines. In order to convict you, the district attorney must prove beyond reasonable doubt that the person’s injury was a direct cause of your alleged drunk driving. In order to successfully prosecute you for aggravated assault while under the influence, they have to prove that the person you injured suffered “serious bodily injury,” which is defined by the statute as “serious, permanent disfigurement or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ.” This must be present in someone other than the alleged drunk driver. You might suffer serious injury as well, but they can’t charge you for that as the driver. If the above stated circumstances are not present, the district attorney could charge you with other lesser charges and sentencing enhancements that also carry harsh consequences, so make sure you are protected with a PA DUI Attorney like those from Bompadre Law. The Attorney Bompadre is a well-educated and experienced attorney who is well versed in DUI charges in PA and can help to protect your rights while minimizing consequences and repercussions against you.
Penalties for DUI Accidents in PA
DUI charges in PA are serious offenses in the eyes of Pennsylvania law. The goal of PA’s Drunk Driving laws is to keep the roadways safe—and driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol seriously impair that safety—many DUI Cases in Pennsylvania are charged to the fullest extent of the law. Many times police will charge every potentially applicable criminal and traffic charge against an accused. Many times, the drunk driver is responsible for both criminal and civil liabilities connected with the accident including when someone is injured or killed, and additional liabilities. A drunk driving accident that injures or kills another person places liability on the impaired driver for a number of criminal charges beyond the normal range of DUI charges in PA, including but not limited to assault, manslaughter, reckless endangerment and vehicular homicide. DUI accident cases in Pennsylvania are serious criminal charges that accrue serious felony offense consequences including many years in prison, significantly crushing fines, long-term license revocation, permanent criminal records and even civil liabilities.
Civil liabilities exposure resulting from a DUI Accident in Pennsylvania can be debilitating as well. According to PA drunk driving laws, an intoxicated driver can actually be tried twice—once under criminal law, and once under civil law. Injured victims or family members of deceased victims can file civil cases to attempt to collect monetary settlements for damages including emotional distress, lost wages, medical expenses, pain and suffering and property damage. If you plead guilty to a DUI without adequate representation, you will most likely expose yourself to these types of civil judgments unnecessarily. Don’t let your DUI charges in PA leave you with unnecessary consequences and increased charges. Let Bompadre Law represent you and protect your rights. We can help you understand the civil and criminal liabilities you may be facing, before you make a potentially huge mistake.
Bompadre Law strives to protect your freedom and livelihood from sentencing enhancements, increased jail time, the revocation of your license, increased fines and other penalties. Contact us today and let us set up a free evaluation to review your DUI accident case in PA.
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