If an officer pulls you over in Pennsylvania, they might ask you to take a breathalyzer test. They might charge you with a DUI if your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is .08 or higher. However, the charges don’t stop there. You might face more serious charges if you have a particularly high BAC.
What happens if you have a high BAC?
According to Pennsylvania law, there are three tiers for BAC levels. The police classify a BAC from .08 to .099 as “general impairment.” They might subject you to the usual DUI charges like a license suspension, a fine and an order to attend traffic school. The police might issue more serious charges if you already have a DUI conviction or two on your record.
If your BAC is anywhere from 0.10 to 0.159, the police might charge you with a “high BAC.” You’ll automatically face higher penalties even if you don’t have a previous DUI on your record. This could include a 12-month license suspension and six months in prison for a first offense. When you already have DUI convictions on your record, you might be looking at five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
The police classify a BAC of 0.16 or more as the “highest BAC.” Even a first offense could come with six months in jail and a $5,000 fine. If you have prior offenses, you could expect five years in prison, a $10,000 fine and other penalties. For this reason, it’s important to hire a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
What other factors might affect your charges?
You might face more serious charges if you had a minor in the vehicle at the time, refused to take a breathalyzer test, fled the scene, assaulted a police officer or committed any other crime along the way. If the situation gets out of hand, a single DUI could turn into a variety of serious charges.