What Do You Need to Know About DUIs?

What Do You Need to Know About DUIs?

Scartelli Olszewski P.C.

DUIs are nothing to take lightly. Being caught driving while under the influence can turn your life around for the worst. Despite thousands of DUIs happening around Pennsylvania every year, not everyone is as well-informed on DUIs as they should be.
Drinking is a common pastime, and that’s not going to change. Driving is also the most common form of transportation. DUIs will always be something we should protect ourselves from and keep ourselves from doing. To do that, we all need to be properly informed on what is considered a DUI and the types of DUIs someone can receive.

What is a DUI?

A DUI is a charge applied to people who drive while under the influence of substances. The most common substance is alcohol, but it is not the only substance that can result in a DUI. You can receive a DUI if you are caught driving under the influence of:

  • Opioids
  • Stimulants
  • Depressants
  • Hallucinogens
  • Anabolic steroids

Not all substances of these types affect your mind, so they wouldn’t all lead to a DUI, but many do. Exact examples include morphine, painkillers, and marijuana because they affect your cognitive ability. Pennsylvania has a zero-tolerance policy for driving while under the influence, so it doesn’t matter what substance you took, if you’re not fit to drive, you will receive a DUI.

What Affects the Severity of a DUI?

Because people drive under the influence of different substances and at different levels of intoxication, not all DUIs are made equal. There are several factors that can worsen the punishments for a DUI that you should be aware of. These include:

  • BAC Level: BAC stands for blood alcohol concentration, or how much alcohol is in your blood. When you take a breathalyzer test, they are registering your BAC level. If the breathalyzer comes back at .08% or more, you will receive a DUI charge, and anything higher only makes your charge worse. If it’s higher than .15%, you will receive a criminal charge.
  • Previous Offenses: If you have a history of DUIs and traffic violations, your punishments will only get worse.
  • Vehicle Type: Driving any vehicle while under the influence is dangerous, but the larger your vehicle, the greater the danger. Driving a pickup truck instead of a car won’t change your DUI charge, but driving a commercial vehicle will. A commercial vehicle is one that drives goods or passengers while being significantly bigger than other vehicles on the road. Most can be identified by their height, weight, and number of wheels. If you drive one of these with a BAC of .04%, you will likely lose your commercial driver’s license after it’s suspended. If your BAC was .08% or higher, you’ll likely lose your personal driver’s license as well.
  • Age: Minors can’t have a BAC over .02%, so they risk being convicted of a DUI on the spot.
  • Potential Victims: If someone was hurt because you were drunk driving, your DUI charge will be worse. This is true if you were drunk driving with passengers in your car, you hit someone in a car, you hit someone walking along the road, or hit someone else’s property. If someone dies, your DUI will not change, so much as you will be facing new criminal charges instead.

What Do You Do After a DUI or a DUI-Caused Accident?

If you were hit by a drunk driver or your property was damaged by one, you want to first make sure you’re alright. Contact emergency services, and only if you are well, take pictures of the accident for the record. Once you’re healthy and safe, contact the injury law attorneys at Scartelli Olszewski P.C.

If you caused an accident or have been charged with a DUI, you need a criminal defense lawyer at your side as soon as possible. Contact Scartelli Olszewski, P.C. for a consultation on your situation with our criminal defense lawyers.