Pennsylvania State Police made 19,963 arrests for driving under the influence in 2017 and investigated more than 5,180 DUI-related crashes.
St. Patrick’s Day (Wednesday, March 17) is around the corner, and at Hagelgans & Veronis, we want everyone to enjoy the festivities without compromising another driver’s safety.
If you plan on drinking this St. Patrick’s Day, have a designated driver or plan on calling a cab or ride-sharing service like Uber or Lyft.
The Real Cost of a DUI in Pennsylvania
Law enforcement in Pennsylvania is trained to check for DUI at every routine stop they make. Once an arrest has been made, the real cost of a DUI becomes painfully apparent.
First-time offenders with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .10 or more can expect to spend at least two nights in jail and significant fines and fees. Here are some expenses typically associated with a DUI in Pennsylvania:
- Traffic fines can range from $300 to $1,000 depending on a driver’s BAC at the time of arrest
- Towing services start at $50 (plus mileage)
- Impound costs range from $75 to $175 per day
- Insurance premiums increase by approximately $1,000 per year
- Rehabilitation and education services can reach nearly $3,000
Generally speaking, the more alcohol in a driver’s system at the time of arrest, the more expensive the DUI. It’s estimated that the average cost of a DUI in Pennsylvania ranges between $500 and $5,000 for first time offenders.
In addition to financial penalties, offenders also face mandatory court appearances, community services requirements, and/or jail time. Second or subsequent offenders are required to install an Ignition Interlock System on their vehicle for a minimum of one year. Drivers must blow into the device to activate their car; if the device detects alcohol, the car won’t start.
The social and professional consequences of a DUI can be just as severe as the financial damage.
Don’t become a deadly statistic—the only safe driving limit is 0.0 percent.
Know Your Limit, Know the Law
Alcohol has a different effect on nearly everyone who consumes it—that’s why it’s important to know your personal limit as well as the parameters of the law.
Pennsylvania has set .08 percent BAC as the legal limit for a DUI conviction. DUI conviction is possible with a BAC of .05 percent, if the driver exhibits impairment or if other supporting evidence is available.
Commercial drivers are subject to a nationwide BAC limit of 0.4 percent.
Generally speaking, the human body can process one drink per hour. One drink is equal to 1.5 oz. of 80 proof liquor, one 12 oz. beer, or one 5 oz. glass of wine.
Women reach a higher BAC level faster than men. Body weight, how quickly the drinks are consumed and whether food has been eaten also affect BAC and a driver’s ability to legally operate a vehicle.
The Zero Tolerance Law applies to all persons less than 21 years old. Minors can be convicted of DUI for a BAC level as low as .02 percent.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
It’s easy to get carried away with green beer and Irish whiskey on St. Patrick’s Day, but excessive drinking without a safe ride home is a recipe for disaster.
According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, alcohol-related fatalities account for more than 30 percent of all traffic fatalities in Pennsylvania.
At Hagelgans & Veronis, we’re experienced personal injury lawyers serving communities located in central Pennsylvania.