Introduction to Sentencing Enhancements in PA DUI
A Pennsylvania DUI conviction carries extremely harsh repercussions that can include jail time, fines, alcohol highway safety school, substance-abuse treatment, and probation. Factors called sentencing enhancements can add substantially to your sentence in a Pennsylvania DUI case, including high BAC, multiple DUI, felony DUI with injury, aggravated assault while under the influence, and homicide while under the influence.
However, it may be possible to challenge these sentencing enhancements or mitigate their effect. A skilled Pennsylvania DUI lawyer from Zachary B. Cooper, Attorney at Law, P.C. will attempt to protect you from the consequences of a driving under the influence charge and seek to minimize the impact of any sentencing enhancements.
The sentencing enhancements in a Pennsylvania DUI case can affect every aspect of your punishment and bring longer jail sentences, larger fines, and longer driver's license suspensions.
Sentencing enhancements in PA DUI cases may be included when the original charges are filed against you, but can also be added later if your case is still pending and the enhancements won't unfairly impact your right to a fair trial.
Like your underlying Pennsylvania DUI charge, a sentencing enhancement must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt if your punishment is to be increased. If the district attorney cannot convict you of the underlying driving under the influence charge, you cannot be convicted of the sentencing enhancement.
High BAC and highest BAC are two of the most common sentencing enhancements in Pennsylvania DUI cases. Pennsylvania DUI law has three tiers - general impairment, with a blood alcohol content (BAC) range of .08 to .099 percent; high BAC, with a range of .10 to .159 percent; and highest BAC, which is charged against any driver with a BAC of .16 or greater.
Multiple DUI is another sentencing enhancement that can be brought in a Pennsylvania DUI case. Pennsylvania has a 10-year lookback or "washout" period for DUI offenses, meaning that if you have a prior driving under the influence conviction within the past 10 years, it can be used to increase your punishment in your current case. If more than 10 years has passed since your conviction, your current case will be treated as a first-time DUI offense.
Felony DUI with injury can be charged in any Pennsylvania driving under the influence case where someone other than the driver was hurt in a crash. Felony DUI with injury carries substantially harsher repercussions than a standard Pennsylvania DUI charge.
Aggravated assault while under the influence is a second-degree felony that can be charged in any Pennsylvania DUI case where someone suffered life-threatening injuries, serious permanent disfigurement, or long-term impairment of any bodily function or organ. It carries harsher penalties than felony DUI with injury.
Homicide while under the influence is an extremely serious charge that can be brought in any case where a driver is alleged to have unintentionally caused the death of another person while driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Homicide while under the influence carries a minimum three-year prison sentence for each death alleged to be caused by a Pennsylvania DUI driver.
The district attorney will likely add as many sentencing enhancements as he or she believes is relevant in your Pennsylvania DUI case, so you need a skilled defense attorney on your side fighting for your rights. An experienced Pennsylvania DUI lawyer from Zachary B. Cooper, Attorney at Law, P.C. will thoroughly examine your case and aggressively fight any sentencing enhancements along with the underlying driving under the influence charge. Please contact us today for a free consultation.