St. Patrick’s Day, a holiday celebrating Irish culture and commemorating Christianity’s arrival in Ireland, is widely celebrated throughout Chester County and Pennsylvania, including The Pub by Wegmans in Malvern is hosting a week-long celebration in honor of the national holiday. There will be tons of festivities involving Irish music, food, and drink—especially beer and other alcoholic beverages.
As a result, Chester County law enforcement will be on alert for impaired or drunk drivers in the Chester County area. As part of the Pennsylvania High Visibility Enforcement Program, Chester County law enforcement will be conducting DUI checkpoints starting on St. Patrick’s Day, Thursday, March 17, 2016 through Saturday, March 19, 2016.
Law enforcement will be conducting DUI checkpoints throughout Pennsylvania, including West Chester, Philadelphia, King of Prussia, Lancaster, Philadelphia, Malvern, and the surrounding areas.
Chester County law enforcement is one of the seventy municipal police departments from Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia Counties targeting drunk and impaired drivers during the St. Patrick’s Day holiday.
While it is okay and even encouraged to celebrate the St. Patrick’s holiday, it is important to do so safely. Please be aware of the following facts, before drinking and driving this week and weekend.
- It is impossible to predict BAC: BAC or Blood Alcohol Concentration is the measure law enforcement uses to determine whether an individual is too impaired or intoxicated to operate a motor vehicle. BAC refers to the percent of alcohol in a person’s blood stream.
In Pennsylvania an individual age 21 or older can be charged with DUI or drunk driving if he or she has a BAC of 0.08 or higher. A BAC of 0.08 means the individual’s blood supply contains 0.8 part alcohol for every 1,000 parts of blood.
Commonly, people will say “I know my limit”. This is not true. It is impossible for an individual to predict his or her BAC. It is possible to feel fine or completely capable of operating a motor vehicle, depending on the alcohol tolerance, and still have a BAC of 0.08 or higher. Regardless of how a person feels, he or she will be arrested for DWI with a BAC of 0.08 or higher.
It is impossible to predict BAC, because BAC is dependent on several factors, including but not limited to the drinker’s weight, metabolism, the type of alcohol consumed, time drinking, and food consumed.
If you or a friend plans on drinking during the St. Patrick’s Day holiday, it is highly recommended to have a designated driver and refrain from driving or risk being arrested for DWI.
- Remember, DUI is dangerous: Drinking is part of most American celebrations, festivities, and social gatherings. It is important to remember operating a vehicle after drinking is dangerous. Regardless of whether the driver notices or not, he or she is impaired by alcohol.
According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, 10, 550 alcohol related crashes occurred in 2014. Of those crashes 331 fatalities occurred. Drinking and driving amongst drivers age 21-25 is the state’s top concern. 43 percent of alcohol related fatalities occurred within this age group.
Alcohol related crashes and deaths were down from the rates in 2013, because of Pennsylvania’s aggressive measures to prevent drinking and driving, including roving patrols and DUI checkpoints. The St. Patrick’s 2016 DUI checkpoints are partially funded by a $4.6 million in federal funds granted to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.
In addition to the criminal risk, it is important to note DWI is dangerous and can result in serious injury and/or the loss of life.
- A DUI conviction has serious consequences: A DUI conviction can result in serious criminal consequences, including jail time and/or steep fines. In Pennsylvania, the penalties depend on the level of intoxication and the particular circumstances surrounding the DUI arrest, including the presence of a child, age of the driver, presence of drugs or controlled substances, and previous DUI convictions.
An individual is charged based on level of intoxication. Persons with a BAC between 0.08 and 0.1 are considered generally intoxicated. For a first-offense general intoxication DUI, an individual faces up to 6 months of probation, up to $300 in fines, required alcohol highway safety course, and alcohol treatment.
A BAC between 0.1 and 0.16 is considered high intoxication. An individual convicted of high intoxication DUI for the first time, faces between 48 hours and 6 months in jail, a fine between $500 and $5000, driver’s license suspension of up to one year, and a mandatory alcohol highway safety course.
A BAC of 0.16 or higher is considered highest intoxication. A first offense highest intoxication DUI has the most severe penalties, including a license suspension of up to one year, imprisonment from 72 hours to 6 months, fines of no less than $1,000 and no more than $5,000, mandatory attendance at alcohol safety school, and required alcohol treatment.
Most serious penalties may result for habitual offenders or individuals who commit other criminal offenses, including DUI with a child present, possession of controlled substances, and DUI resulting in serious bodily injury.
- Be Safe Than Sorry: As earlier indicated, it is impossible to determine whether your BAC is 0.08 or higher. It is important to refrain from driving after consuming alcohol. Either designate a sober driving or take a ridesharing service, like Uber or Lyft.
If arrested and charged with DUI, it is important to contact an experienced DUI defense attorney immediately. The team of attorneys at Ciccarelli Law Offices are available 24/7, including St. Patrick’s Day.
The dedicated attorneys at Ciccarelli Law Offices are highly experienced in DUI defense. They are prepared to negotiate bond on your behalf, which will get you released from jail until your hearing, then build the strongest defense on your behalf.
Ciccarelli Law Offices zealously defenses individuals facing all DUI charges, including first-offense DUI, Underage DUI, Repeat DUI, DUI and Marijuana charges, and DUI and Controlled Substance charges.
Ciccarelli Law Offices is available 24/7. Contact Ciccarelli Law Offices at (610) 719-3200 for a free initial consultation. Ciccarelli Law Offices proudly represents individuals throughout Pennsylvania, including Chester County, Delaware County, Montgomery County and Lancaster County.