How does a one-car accident result in DUI charges against two people? First, at approximately 1:30 a.m., a woman drove her vehicle off the roadway, hit a pole, and then the vehicle flipped over. Not surprisingly, an accident occurring on clear roads in the wee hours of the morning leads to suspicion of driving while intoxicated. In this case, the suspicion was correct as the woman was later charged with DUI. Nothing really outside of the norm so far.
However, the case becomes a little more interesting when a Good Samaritan stopped to render aid. The Samaritan helped the woman from the car and agreed to take her to the hospital so she could avoid being arrested for DUI. The man was familiar with being arrested as he was previously arrested for and convicted of DUI. Turns out, the man was also driving under the influence that morning. Shortly after the accident, the police arrived on scene. Witnesses directed the police to the Samaritan's vehicle as it contained the driver. After stopping the Samaritan's car, the police discovered that both the driver and the passenger were intoxicated and thereby charged with DUI.
Severe Mandatory Minimum Penalties for DUI Convictions
The Good Samaritan's prior DUI was in 2009, and his new case included charges of DUI and driving without a license, and he refused the breath test. While the Samaritan refused the breath test, it was still possible to charge him with a DUI. If the Samaritan were charged with those offenses in Pennsylvania, he would be facing severe penalties. First, since the prior DUI conviction or ARD disposition occurred within the last 10 years, Pennsylvania would treat the current DUI charge as a second offense. If the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was above a .16%, and considering that this would be a second offense DUI, the Samaritan would be facing a mandatory minimum sentence of 90 days incarceration, $1,500.00 fine, 18 month license suspension, and a 1 year ignition interlock requirement upon restoration of driving privileges.
Aside from the DUI, the Samaritan was also charged with driving under suspension. If the suspension was because of a prior DUI or ARD for a DUI, then he would be facing an additional sentence of at least 90 days incarceration, $1,000.00 fine, and another 1 year suspension of driving privileges. For refusing the breath test, the Samaritan would incur at least a 1 year civil or administrative suspension for a violation of what if commonly referred to as the Implied Consent law.
The moral of the story is that the signs along Pennsylvania roadways are correct in warning people that they simply cannot afford to be charged with a DUI. While you cannot afford to be charged with a DUI, you can afford a free consultation with an experienced State College DUI attorney by calling (814) 954-7622.