Being charged with a DUI is a frightening and sometimes overwhelming experience. That said, aside from hiring a competent attorney who can defend you from your charges, the next most important thing you can do is educate yourself on the charges you’re facing and their potential consequences. One major distinction between DUI charges in Pennsylvania is whether they are felony or misdemeanor charges. Please continue reading and reach out to a seasoned Allegheny County DUI lawyer from the Law Offices of George Heym to learn more about the differences between felony and misdemeanor DUI charges in PA and how our legal team can help. Here are some of the questions you may have:
What makes felony and misdemeanor DUI charges different in PA?
As you may know, in short, felonies are more severe charges than misdemeanors. However, you should understand that misdemeanor charges can still have a wide range of potential consequences. For example, a first-offense DUI with a BAC ranging from .08% to .16% is considered an ungraded misdemeanor, yet for a first-offense Tier 2 DUI, a person will face a mandatory minimum of 48 hours of incarceration (but up to six months), a 12-month driver’s license suspension, installation of the ignition interlock device for one year, and a $5,000 fine, among other penalties.
On the other hand, one example of a felony DUI charge is a fourth or subsequent DUI charge, even with a BAC of .08% to .099% (Tier 1). This would be considered a second-degree felony, for which a person may face at least 10 days in jail but up to 10 years in jail, an 18-month suspension of their driver’s license, the mandatory use and installation of the ignition interlock device in their vehicle for up to one year, a maximum $25,000 fine, and more.
What is a criminal record?
It is also important to understand that whether you are convicted of misdemeanor or felony DUI charges in Pennsylvania, you will have a criminal record. Having a criminal record can impact all facets of your life, including your ability to gain employment, secure housing or certain loans, and more. For this reason, among others, it is imperative that you retain the services of a knowledgeable DUI lawyer from the moment you are charged with a crime. Our legal team can fight your charges at every turn to have their consequences mitigated, or, in the best cases, dropped altogether.
If you have any further questions about DUI charges in Pennsylvania, or you need a lawyer who can come to your defense, please do not hesitate to contact the Law Offices of George Heym for help.