Felony DUI vs. Misdemeanor DUI

Felony and misdemeanor DUILeading Attorneys in Pennsylvania for DUI Charges

We are a seasoned, experienced, and highly educated law firm located in State College, Pennsylvania. We have over 60 years of experience in accident injury, felony charges and wrongful death cases. We handle cases involving,

  • Family law
  • Criminal defense
  • Estate planning/probate
  • Civil litigation
  • Misdemeanor and Felony DUI charges in PA
  • DUI defense Pennsylvania,  and
  • Personal injury law 

Felony or misdemeanor charges in PA, for a DUI can be a confusing and fearful to understand and sort out. Therefore, it is crucial to know the difference if you are charged with either of these. Driving under the influence of a substance is a severe charge no matter where you reside. In Pennsylvania, never think that this charge goes away after you pay your fine. This charge in Pennsylvania carries severe penalties requiring you to hire an experienced attorney to build a strong defense for you. 

In most cases, the criminal law in State College PA considers a DUI a misdemeanor at all levels unless there are other factors involved that turn this misdemeanor into a felony which is much more severe. Your second offense becomes more severe, bringing with it a possible ten years in jail and a fine of up to $25,000 for each charge. 

If you have a specific alcohol level in your blood, and you proceed to drive any vehicle while you are impaired, the police can stop you, test you on the spot, and charge you with drunk driving. If this is a first DUI, know that there are three specific levels of impairment along with specific penalties. A first offense is serious and Pennsylvania says that your first offense is considered a misdemeanor DUI. 

General Impairment means,

  • Your blood alcohol level is 0.08 percent to 0.099 percent. This charge means six months of probation, a $300.00 fine, education in highway traffic safety school, and a misdemeanor conviction ungraded. 

High Blood Alcohol impairment means,

  • You have an alcohol level of 0.10 percent to 0.159 percent. This charge carries with it two to six months in jail, a 12-month driver’s suspension, ignition interlock suspension, and a misdemeanor conviction, ungraded. 

The Highest Blood Alcohol Level

  • You have a 0.16 percent or higher blood alcohol level. As a result, you spend three days to six months in jail, a license suspension for one year, a $1,000 to $5,000 fine, complete a highway traffic safety school, and a misdemeanor conviction ungraded.

What Happens when an Enforcement Officer Stops You for Possible Alcohol Intoxication?

If you are driving and your vehicle is weaving from side to side, driving too slow, or driving too fast, a police officer will likely stop you. You may be required to participate in a few standardized and non-standardized sobriety tests right where your vehicle is pulled over on the side of the road. It is the personal opinion of the officer if you pass or do not pass these tests. 

When you take any of these field tests and fail, it means that you need an attorney by your side. It is a bad idea to think that you can represent yourself for a DUI charge. While Pennsylvania law says that first, second and third DUI are all considered a misdemeanors, a third offense means ten years and converts to a felony offense. 

When a Misdemeanor DUI Turns into a Felony DUI

The smallest of injuries can turn a misdemeanor into a felony, even for a first-time offender. A felony offense has a much more severe impact on your life. An injury you caused to another person does not have to be extreme. Injuries that are of the smallest nature are considered a misdemeanor. The following examples are when a DUI misdemeanor turns into a felony: 

  • Your driving while intoxicated caused injuries to others
  • Your intoxication caused an aggravated assault
  • Your intoxication caused a homicide, This offense brings with it three to ten years of jail time and a permanent felony on your driving record, and a $25,000 fine for each count. 

A Call to Action for Advocacy Against Wrongful Deeds and Actions

The law firm of Engle Kauffman & VanHorn has an experienced criminal defense attorney and is one of the leading and most recognized State College Criminal Defense Law Firms. Our firm is committed to every client. The community knows our attorneys as strong advocates for their clients with a deep trust and determination to pursue a fair and just plea agreement. 

We are a dedicated and leading law firm representing DUI defense clients in Pennsylvania.  We are excellent listeners and want to hear your story. So please give us a call and tell us your situation, and we will notify you if we think you have a strong case and then allow us to get to work for your rights for a fair result. 

We cannot help you until you give us a call at (814) 234-8834. Access our website for more information about our State College Criminal Defense Lawyer Stephanie Van Horn. Discover who we are and what we stand for in the face of justice for all our clients charged with a misdemeanor DUI.