Recent changes to the Pennsylvania penal code have upgraded certain DUIs from misdemeanors to felonies. If you have been charged with a DUI, it is important that you understand these changes, especially if you are a repeat offender.
These recent laws were passed to target “habitual offenders”. By grading certain DUIs as felonies, judges now have stiffer penalties they can use to punish repeat DUI offenders. If your DUI is graded as a felony, you will face the following sentencing structure:
- Imprisonment can be anywhere from 1 to 7 years. This is reason alone to get the best legal help you can find. A long prison sentence like this can completely destroy your personal life and your career.
- You can be fined up to $15,000.
- Your license will be suspended for 18 months.
- When you are finally allowed to drive, you will have to use an ignition interlock device for one year.
On top of these legal penalties, there are many more consequences like:
- Increased car insurance rates
- Negative effects on your credit
- You would not be able to own a firearm
- If you hold a professional license, it may be suspended by your professional body.
Under what circumstances is a DUI graded as a felony?
Not every DUI is a felony. There are specific guidelines as to when a DUI becomes a felony. They are:
- Third Offenses when:
- There was a passenger in the vehicle less than 18 years old
- The driver was under the influence of a controlled substance (including marijuana)
- The driver refused to submit to a chemical test
- The BAC was measured to be 0.16% or greater.
- All Fourth Offenses
- Any DUI if the driver previously has been convicted of Homicide by Vehicle.
My DUI is being charged as a felony. What should I do?
As you can see, the consequences of a felony DUI are very serious. Your entire future will be severely impacted by the outcome of this case. At this point, the best thing you can do is get the best attorney you can. Remember, a DUI charge is not an automatic conviction. An experienced DUI attorney who knows the science behind DUI cases may be able to help you secure a favorable outcome in this case. Please call (717) 690-8643 now for your free, detailed case consultation.