Drunk driving offenses are unfortunately common despite the laws prohibiting drunk driving and the massive awareness campaigns urging people to refrain from driving after drinking.
Because it remains a pervasive problem in Pennsylvania and all around the U.S., it can be easy to think of a DUI as an upsetting, but ultimately minor, offense. However, thinking this way can be a big mistake, as it doesn’t take much for a routine DUI to turn into a much more serious offense.
In fact, there are many factors that lead to escalated or additional charges, according to Pennsylvania DUI laws. These factors can include:
- Having a minor in the car
- Having a previous drunk driving offense on your record
- Being extremely intoxicated
- Causing an accident
If any of these factors are involved in a DUI, a person could be facing higher fines, lengthier jail sentences and additional restrictions on their driving.
For example, if you are arrested for a first-time drunk driving offense, you could be required to attend treatment and/or highway safety school, complete six months of probation and pay a fine of $300. However, if you have a previous offense, you could spend five days in jail and have to pay up to $2,500 in fines.
If you are a first-time offender and have a minor in the vehicle at the time, you can face an additional misdemeanor charge. Added penalties include community service and fines.
You could also face added penalties if you fail to show up for your hearings or if you violate any court orders.
In other words, there are a number of ways a DUI can go from bad to worse, so it is crucial that you discuss the specifics of your case with an attorney.
Getting charged with drunk driving can be an upsetting, embarrassing experience, and it should be taken seriously by anyone in this situation. Your freedom, driving privileges and finances are on the line, so it is important that you speak with an attorney to examine your options for defending against DUI charges.