A man appears to have made a few bad decisions that have gotten him into hot water with the Centre County Court system. First, after he drove the wrong way on Beaver Avenue in State College, he chose to flee from the police when they attempted to stop him. The man's escape was thwarted when he crashed his car into the Chipotle restaurant on Heister Street. The police then discovered the likely reason for the man's attempted escape, the man was driving under the influence. Luckily, nobody was injured, and the other good news is that there did not appear to be any damage to the restaurant, so Penn State students and local criminal defense attorneys can still get burritos.
Fleeing and Eluding Sentence Increased if DUI Involved
In Pennsylvania, a normal charge of Fleeing and Eluding under 75 Pa.C.S.A. § 3733 is a second-degree misdemeanor offense punishable by up to 2 years in jail and a $5,000.00 fine. However, if the person was driving under the influence, the severity of the charge is increased to a felony of the third degree, which carries a maximum sentence of 7 years in jail and a $15,000.00 fine. A conviction of Fleeing and Eluding would also result in a suspension of Pennsylvania driving privileges.
In additional to the Fleeing and Eluding charge, the police also filed State College DUI charges and summary traffic offenses related to driving without a license and driving the wrong way on a one-way street. Even if this is the man's first offense of DUI, a conviction of the charge would subject the man to a mandatory minimum sentence that would probably include jail time, fines, and an additional license suspension. While the Centre County District Attorney sometimes agrees to allow some DUI offenders to avoid jail time by participating in the Intermediate Punishment (IP) program, commonly called in-home detention, the prosecutors are more likely to oppose in-home detention in this case because the man fled and only stopped after getting into an accident. The man clearly needs to have an experienced State College DUI defense attorney provide representation in this case.