Blood Alcohol Concentration
When you are charged with a DUI, the penalties you face depend on the level of alcohol in your blood at the time of the offense. This is called Blood Alcohol Concentration or BAC.
Everyone who drives a vehicle in PA is presumed to have given their legal consent for chemical testing of BAC, including breath, blood, and urine samples when requested by a police officer. A refusal to take the alcohol test will result in a license suspension.
- Pennsylvania uses a three level approach to DUI enforcement and treatment. This means there are different criminal penalties (fines and imprisonment), treatment requirements, and terms of license suspension.
- Levels include General impairment, High BAC, and
- General impairment is defined as a BAC of .08 to .099 or the incapacity to operate a vehicle safely
- High BAC means a BAC between .10 and .159
- Highest BAC is charged for blood alcohol levels of .16 and higher
- A refusal of testing automatically places you into the Highest BAC category!
- Penalties advance significantly at each level and with each recurrence and include jail time.
- Your BAC will depend on a number of factors, including your weight, the amount of alcohol you have consumed, when you last ate, and the time between your last drink and the chemical test.
Refusal to Take a BAC Test
Refusing to take a BAC test can significantly worsen your situation. If testimony is given that there were “reasonable grounds” for requesting a BAC and you refused, then the charge against you can immediately escalate to the Highest BAC level. Additionally, your license will be suspended for at least one year and the fact that you refused a BAC can be used against you in court.
Yes, the police must have reasonable grounds to request a blood alcohol test; however, you are not in a position to second guess their judgment. To determine reasonable grounds for a BAC test, the police will employ various field sobriety tests. Only a DUI experienced attorney can challenge “reasonable grounds” after the fact.
You can learn more on our Breath Testing and Field Sobriety page.
Does it sound complicated, even a little overwhelming? It can be. Your best move is to contact Ronald Makoski for a personal chat. I’m ready to help you understand these legal complications and achieve the best possible outcome for your DUI.
Make an appointment for a FREE initial consultation and evaluation of your case. Call toll free at 1-866-367-3847. Why worry a moment longer?
Probable Cause/Reasonable Suspicion for a Traffic Stop
In the absence of an accident, a police officer must have a valid reason to stop your vehicle. Either probable cause that you have violated the motor vehicle code or reasonable suspicion to believe that you are driving DUI or that you have committed some other crime.
A DUI experienced Attorney can often defeat a DUI charge where the arresting officer lacked sufficient probably cause or reasonable suspicion.
People occasionally drive into a DUI checkpoint. An experienced DUI attorney may be able to defeat a DUI charge where the police have failed to follow the proper procedures in setting up an operating the checkpoint.