Is DUI a Felony in West Chester, PA?

West Chester, PA, home of the West Chester University of Pennsylvania North Campus and many local points of interest, is attractive to both residents and visitors alike. West Chester and Chester County are well-served by local highways, including Pennsylvania Route 3 (PA 3), PA 926, and US 322 Bus. Local and commonwealth police regularly patrol these roads, as well as local thoroughfares like Market St. and High St. 

DUI arrests are common in West Chester. When the West Chester police arrest you for DUI, Pennsylvania DUI law applies to your case, not West Chester local law. Although the vast majority of DUI charges are misdemeanors, sometimes the commonwealth can charge you with a felony DUI. Following is a description of some of these types of charges.

Fourth Offense DUI Within 10 Years

Pennsylvania can charge you with felony DUI if you had at least three previous DUIs during the past 10 years. It doesn’t matter if you have never been involved in an accident or injured anyone. Four or more DUIs in 10 years is enough to charge you with a felony.

Do Out-of-State DUIs Count Against Me?

Yes, they do, as long as Pennsylvania knows about them. They will certainly discover your out-of-state DUI(s) if they occurred in a state that is a member of the Driver License Compact or the Non-Resident Violator Compact, two organizations that allow their member states to share information about out-of-state DUI convictions. 

Only Michigan and Wisconsin are not members of these compacts. However, even if your DUI occurred in one of these states, Pennsylvania might still discover it. 

“DUI Plus” Charges

“DUI plus” charges are serious criminal charges that require the commonwealth to prove more than that you were simply driving while intoxicated. Yes, you must be guilty of DUI, but you must also be guilty of something else. Following are some examples. 

Minor in Your Vehicle

Pennsylvania can charge you with felony DUI if your Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) was at least 0.16%, you had at least two prior DUI convictions within the last 10 years, and there was a minor (under 18 years old) in your car at the time the police pulled you over. 

Felony DUI with Injury 

You commit felony DUI with injury if you drive while intoxicated and cause even the slightest injury to someone else. 

Aggravated Assault With a Motor Vehicle While Under the Influence

If you drove while intoxicated and you caused an accident that resulted in a serious injury to someone else, Pennsylvania can charge you with aggravated assault with a motor vehicle while under the influence. This crime is a second-degree felony that can result in 10 years of prison time.

Homicide While Under the Influence

If you drive while intoxicated and cause an accident that kills someone, Pennsylvania can charge you with homicide while under the influence. Under certain circumstances, Pennsylvania can imprison you for over 10 years for this offense. If more than one person died, Pennsylvania can sentence you to multiple consecutive sentences, which could result in life in prison under some circumstances.

Possible Defenses

Some of the most common DUI defenses include:

  • The “rising BAC” defense: You drank a lot of alcohol immediately prior to your traffic stop, causing your BAC to be higher when you were tested than when you were actually driving.
  • The police had no valid reason to pull you over in the first place. This defense applies only if you did not cause an accident.
  • Improper testing procedures or faulty equipment.

Depending on the circumstances, you might have many other possible defenses available to you.

Criminal prosecutions move rapidly in Pennsylvania, and time is not your ally. Any form of felony DUI is a serious matter that could result in years of prison time. Don’t try to represent yourself! Seek the advice of a lawyer immediately. You don’t have to wait until you get bail because your lawyer can visit you in jail.

Contact Our DUI Law Firm in West Chester, PA

If you are facing criminal charges and need legal help, contact the West Chester, PA DUI lawyers at DiCindioLaw, LLC to schedule a free initial consultation.

DiCindio Law, LLC

29 S Walnut St
West Chester, PA 19382
(610) 430-3535