NTSB recommends lowering legal BAC to 0.05 percent
These days, most Pennsylvanians are probably aware that 0.08 percent is the legal limit for their blood alcohol content when behind the wheel. In Pennsylvania, the limit has been the same since September 2003, when it was reduced from the previous standard of 0.10. Recently, the National Transportation Safety Board announced that it is recommending that the legal limit be reduced even further – to 0.05 percent. The NTSB has argued that reducing the legal limit again could help to lower the number of fatalities caused by drunk driving accidents each year. Despite the recommendation, many have argued that such a reduction would not be beneficial, and would actually result in criminal penalties for motorists who are driving responsibly. In addition, the number of drunk driving accidents has actually declined in some areas in recent years, including Pennsylvania. According to Pennsylvania’s Department of Transportation, there were 3,000 fewer drunk driving accidents in 2012 than a decade prior.
Fight drunk driving charges in Pennsylvania
Those who are charged with drunk driving in Pennsylvania would be wise to take note of the potential penalties associated with such charges. Under Pennsylvania law, the penalties for a drunk driving conviction depend, in part, on the individual’s blood alcohol content. In addition, the penalties increase if the individual has previously been convicted of drunk driving. The most moderate penalties accompany first-time charges of driving under the influence with a blood alcohol content between 0.08 and 0.099 percent. In such cases, if the individual is convicted, he or she can receive up to six months of probation and a fine of up to $300. In addition, he or she may be ordered to attend an alcohol highway safety school and an alcohol treatment program. Those who are charged with driving under the influence with a high BAC – ranging from 0.10 to 0.159 percent – will have stricter penalties if convicted. If the individual has no prior convictions for drunk driving, he or she could be sentenced to between 48 hours to six months in jail and be fined between $500 and $5,000. In addition, his or her license may be suspended for up to 12 months. Finally, individuals may also be charged with driving under the influence with the highest BAC, if their blood alcohol content is 0.16 percent or above. In such cases, even those without prior offenses, can be sentenced to between 72 hours to six months in jail and receive a fine between $1,000 and $5,000. If you are facing charges of driving under the influence in Pennsylvania, it would be wise to seek the advice of a skilled criminal defense attorney to ensure a strong defense is established on your behalf.