Driving while intoxicated is never a good thing. We are strongly against it primarily due to the repercussions it has on the driver, other drivers on the road, and innocent bystanders in the streets of Erie, Pennsylvania. However, the fact remains that DUIs or Driving Under Influence cases are relatively high in the city.
We get it; we all want to have a good time, especially during the holidays and special events. And most of the time, our idea of fun involves substances like alcohol that can affect our mental and physical state. While there are those who drink casually for social purposes, there are others who are not responsible enough to know their own limitations. We admit that drinking alcohol in social events can really help people loosen up and engage more comfortably with others, but just like everything else, it should be done in moderation.
Anything in the world, when done or consumed excessively, does not lead to anything good.
In 2022 alone, 515 DUI cases have been recorded during the 4-day Independence Day Weekend which is a lot of cases for just a period of 96 hours. This basically means that a car crash or accident happens every 12 minutes somewhere in Erie during this time window. That’s a pretty big hazard for a neighborhood with a lot of innocent people walking on the streets nonchalantly.
The crime rate in Erie is at least 2% higher than the national average making it a relatively riskier neighborhood to live in according to this source. This includes road accidents that can pose significant risks to the residents of the city as most of which are caused by DUI-related incidents.
Since DUI cases are not exactly uncommon in this area, you might find yourself charged for one at some point too (or you might even be facing one right now). In this article, we’ll help you figure out what you can do if you ever find yourself entangled in a DUI case.
What Qualifies As A DUI Case
You have a DUI case if someone who has suffered physical or property damages files a claim against you, or you are stopped by authorities due to circumstantial evidence that shows you are driving while intoxicated. When you’re stopped and you are displaying behaviors of intoxication, such as slurred speech or erratic movements, authorities would often conduct a field sobriety test and a BAC test to check for alcohol intoxication.
BAC refers to Blood Alcohol Content which means the amount of alcohol present in your bloodstream. Generally speaking, a BAC of 0.08-0.1% falls under General Impairment and is considered a first offense or ungraded misdemeanor. The penalties and repercussions get higher and more severe as your blood alcohol content increases. This is especially true in the State of Pennsylvania where authorities are very strict about BAC results that can get you in trouble even if your results come back below 0.08 but above 0.02.
Traffic fines can range from $300 to $10,000 (excluding other related fees to the case such as lawyer fees) based on the degree of the offense and the damages caused (if any), at least a 2-month driving suspension, court appearances, and community service hours. Not to mention, that a DUI case goes into your personal offense records which can affect your day-to-day life. See more here: https://www.penndot.pa.gov/TravelInPA/Safety/TrafficSafetyAndDriverTopics/Pages/Impaired-Driving.aspx.
What To Do When You Have A DUI Case
When you’re already involved in a DUI case, all you can do is face it squarely and follow due process of law. Here’s what you need to do when you are facing charges for DUI:
Hire A Competent Lawyer
The first thing you need to do is find a capable representative. Since you can’t undo what’s already happened, you can only take care of the aftermath as fast and efficiently as you can. You are also unlikely to get out of a DUI case without getting penalized so looking for a reliable lawyer to help you minimize the repercussions this case will have on your everyday life is the next best solution. Hire someone competent, knowledgeable, trustworthy, and genuine.
Approach The Situation Sincerely
Most DUI-related accidents are unintended; however, it doesn’t change the fact that civilians have been or could have been affected by the irresponsible behavior. This is why you also need to face the consequences of your actions. Instead of feigning ignorance or insisting on your innocence when evidence shows that you have indeed been drunk driving, regardless of your reasons, approach the situation sincerely and apologetically. You could have posed significant harm to others because of your decision to drink past your limits and that is something you need to take responsibility for.
Negotiate For Fair Settlement
After you have extended your sincere apologies and expressed your genuine desire to make things right and take responsibility for the situation to the people aggravated by the incident (if any), your lawyer will proceed to negotiate for fair settlement (in cases where there is a direct complainant). A good lawyer will use the full extent of his knowledge and whatever resources he has to ensure that you get the best possible outcome from this situation. You should expect to pay traffic fines to the state as a penalty for your violations, as well as perform community service in the case of first-degree offenses.
Never Drink & Drive Again
Last but not least, the best way to show your sincerity towards the whole incident is to never repeat the same mistake again. If you’re going out for drinks, take a taxi home or have a completely sober friend drive you. We’re saying this not just for the safety of bystanders and other people on the road but for your own safety as well. You are lucky if you got out of this DUI in Erie with nothing but some penalties and maybe a few bruises. Next time, you might not be as fortunate.
It’s always better to be safe than sorry – don’t drink and drive.