Philadelphia Felony DUI with Injury Lawyer
A DUI in Pennsylvania is a serious charge. It is a criminal offense, and if another person is injured or killed in an accident with a drunk driver, the drunk driver can be charged with felony DUI with injury.
Most state laws classify a standard DUI charge as a misdemeanor offense. However, certain circumstances can raise the level of the initial DUI charge. A conviction for a felony DUI carries with it harsher penalties and lasting consequences than a normal misdemeanor charge. If you are in an accident that causes injury to other civilians while driving under the influence, you will be charged with a felony. This type of conviction can carry years of prison as a penalty, as well as restitution. In such case, you will need an experienced Philadelphia Criminal Defense attorney to handle your charged offense.
If you are faced with a felony DUI with injury, you need to retain an experienced defense lawyer to fight for you. You are facing jail time, increased fines, and an increased driver’s license suspension period. You must not take these consequences lightly; the prosecution and judge won’t.
What Is a Felony DUI with Injury?
A felony DUI with injury is a sentencing enhancement, the gravity of which far exceeds a lesser DUI offense. In Pennsylvania, DUI’s are divided into three tiers: general impairment (first tier), high BAC (second tier), and highest BAC (third tier). Under normal circumstances, these tiers are based on blood alcohol concentration (BAC) and the punishments for DUI correspond directly to BAC level only as criteria. However, in the instance of an accident, BAC ceases to be the determinative factor, and the charge automatically becomes at least a second tier offense.
A second tier DUI in Pennsylvania is very different from a first tier offense. A first tier offense carries relatively light consequences of six months probation (meaning no jail time), a $300 fine, and no license suspension. However, at a second tier the consequences jump to 2 days to 6 months in jail, a $500 to $5,000 fine, and a 12 month license suspension.
How Are You Charged with Felony DUI with Injury?
The prosecutor can apply this sentencing enhancement to your DUI charge so long as another person suffered some injury as a consequence of your drunk driving. Typically, this means that you were involved in a car accident while driving drunk, and another person suffered some injury as a result of your actions.
Any injury to another person may qualify – no matter how slight. Additionally, so long as the case is still pending, and the enhancement won’t unfairly impact your right to a fair trial, it may be amended. This means that the prosecutor may add the enhanced penalty of felony DUI with an injury or – in the event a person is seriously injured – the enhanced penalty of aggravated assault while under the influence. These charges, as well as others connected to any additional factors tied to the DUI, must be aggressively fought by expert representation.
Fighting a Felony DUI with Injury
A felony DUI with Injury, or any other enhanced DUI offense for that matter, is dependent upon the prosecutor proving guilt in the principle DUI charge. If the prosecutor fails to prove, this the enhanced charges are dismissed!
Beyond establishing probable cause and proving that you are under the influence as with any DUI, the prosecutor must prove two other criteria to get a conviction for a felony DUI with injury charge. The must show that (1) you broke the law or were negligent while driving, and (2) that your actions caused the injury.
This means that an attorney must combat the issues of probable cause, the field sobriety tests, and the chemical results as usual, but may also challenge the fault of the accident to defeat this charge. If your attorney can raise enough doubts as to the factor that your actions caused the injury, then you may be able to beat the charge. It is not always the case that the drunk driver is at fault for the accident. Perhaps the injured party or another party is to blame to for the accident. Casting doubt on this element is crucial.
Why Do I Need a Lawyer?
A lawyer can fight to disprove the elements that the prosecutor needs to satisfy in order to obtain a conviction. Success will mean defeating at least the enhanced penalties, and potentially protecting your freedom and your license!
This content was written on behalf of Greg Prosmushkin.