Wednesday, November 27, 2013
DUI 'tiers' - Your level of intoxication affects how you'll be punished: The Judicial Notice
on October 15, 2013 at 1:20 PM, updated October 15, 2013 at 2:21 PM
Driving under the influence is one of the most oft-committed crimes in this area. In 2012, Cumberland County had 1,712 DUI cases filed, and there have been 1,315 filed so far for 2013. DUI is such a major component of the criminal justice system that Cumberland County’s “Central Court” is dedicated solely to this offense.
On Sept. 30, 2003, Pennsylvania’s legal limit for DUI was reduced from .10 to .08 blood alcohol content (or BAC). Along with that change came the use of “tiers” for DUI. The tier that a person is charged with can affect his or her sentencing, loss of license and eligibility for an Alternative Rehabilitation Disposition program.
Under the current law, a person cannot drive, operate, or be in "actual physical control" of a motor vehicle after drinking enough alcohol that he or she is incapable of safely operating the vehicle. This is the "general impairment" section of the law. In this same tier is a person who has a BAC of .08 to less than .10 percent within two hours of operating a vehicle.
A person convicted in this tier is subject to six months probation, a $300 fine and attendance at alcohol safety school. If a person has a prior DUI, this tier will result in a mandatory minimum five days in jail and a 12-month license suspension, in addition to other penalties. If the person has two or more prior DUIs, the jail time increases to a mandatory minimum of 10 days.
The second tier, "high rate of alcohol," is for those people who have a BAC of .10 to .159 percent within two hours of operating a vehicle. This tier also includes under-21 drivers caught operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol content of .02 percent or greater and those charged with DUI where there was an accident resulting in bodily injury, death or property damage.
Finally, this tier includes a person operating a commercial vehicle (with a .04 percent or higher BAC); a school bus or school vehicle (with a .02 percent or greater BAC); or a commercial or school vehicle where the person has enough alcohol to be incapable of safe driving or is under the influence of a controlled substance…..