Defending Against a Felony DUI Case in Pennsylvania
You can’t just rest your defense if your DUI case turns into a felony charge. Think about the financial and life-changing damages that you may incur if you just let things be.
One might think that DUI felony charges are hard to battle and they actually are, but it’s also not impossible to turn things a little bit favorable to your side to at the very least lessen the impact of what’s to come.
A DUI defense attorney can do a lot for your case and you’re going to need a good one. Let’s talk about how one can defend against a felony DUI in Pennsylvania.
How Can a DUI Arrest Lead to a Felony Charge?
A DUI conviction will have a lot of consequences for your life and the people close to you. And so, what are the conditions or situations where a DUI arrest may lead to a felony charge?
Two categories of felony charges are DUI-related and these are: A) Charges for repeat offenders and B) DUIs that involve accidents. In both cases, once proven guilty or at least charged may lead to stiffer penalties as compared to just a normal DUI arrest.
DUI laws in Pennsylvania make the second and consequent DUI charges into felonies in certain situations and this can spell bad news for the defendant.
If someone commits a third DUI violation within 10 years and if it does involve BAC of blood alcohol concentration of 0.16% or higher then that’s considered a felony.
Furthermore, if the person charged is driving with a controlled substance or under the influence of drugs, refuses breath or blood test, or is driving with a passenger of under 18 years old.
The fourth offense as you might expect would be a lot more inconsiderate of the other factors of a DUI situation. Your fourth DUI charge within 10 years will automatically be considered as a felony regardless. This includes even if your blood alcohol concentration is just a little bit above the allowed limit.
That’s how it is in Pennsylvania.
Some Other Circumstance
Another circumstance where you will surely face a DUI felony charge automatically is if you’ve had a prior homicide conviction by vehicle. Your BAC levels won’t matter in this situation either as well as if your DUI arrest involved an accident.
And did you know that in Pennsylvania both instances we mentioned above are classified as a third-degree felony? So the accused will face a $15000 fine as well as seven years in prison with a minimum of a one-year prison sentence mandatory in some cases.
That’s why it’s extremely important to think about hiring an experienced DUI defense attorney in these tough situations.
DUIs With Accidents
Prosecutors in Pennsylvania are allowed to file DUI felony cases in multiple situations. Let’s discuss them.
DUI Felonies With Injury
If you are arrested for driving under the influence and causing an accident that leads to any type of injury then you may be charged with a felony. In Pennsylvania, it doesn’t need to be a serious injury to incur a felony charge.
The more serious the injury you caused, the more serious the charges will naturally be. You can be charged with aggravated assault which is considered a second-degree felony. That’s up to a $25000 fine and 10 years in prison.
Homicide By Vehicle
If your DUI incident caused a fatality and it’s time to prepare for the worst and have the best defense prepared possible. Homicide by vehicle while driving under the influence is also considered a second-degree felony but take note that prosecutors might pursue a first-degree felony for such an incident.
The mandatory prison time for this felony is three years and first-degree felonies have a minimum mandatory sentence of five.
How Do You Defend Against a DUI Felony Charge?
Things may look dire for the defendant in DUI felony charges but no matter the magnitude of the charges you are facing, one can still mount a formidable defense with the right partners. Here’s how:
Little to Inadequate BAC Proof
This may apply to those who were charged with a DUI felony due to a third offense. Prosecutors must prove that you were indeed impaired during the incident because that’s the only way that you’ll get convicted for sure.
Having said that, then an inadequate BAC proof is also your way to avoid a conviction completely.
The responding police officer(s)’ observation, investigation, and conduct upon the DUI arrest is crucial on these felony charges. That’s why it’s one vulnerable angle that a defense may explore.
If they engaged in improper conduct during the incident then all of the evidence against you for the DUI stop will be inadmissible in court.
A sample situation is if you were profiled and stopped without any reasonable suspicion.
Working on a Reduced Charge
Sometimes, you will have your back against a wall in DUI felony charges and no matter how robust your defense may be, you will one way or another get a conviction.
All is not lost because there is a way to appeal for reduced charges or sentences. An aggravated assault downgraded as DUI with injury is one angle that a defense may fight for.
It may be worthwhile to also view this article: 4 Police Mistakes That Could Get Your Charges Dismissed
Schedule a Consultation Now
Please take note that the burden of proof is always on the side of the prosecution so all is not lost and we can always mount a good if not great defense to free you of any DUI-related conviction.
But you’re going to need the best in the business and the best DUI Lawyer in Erie PA. who better to call and start your confidential consultation now than with Justin Panighetti of Panighetti Law. Assert your right for a formidable defense now.