A conviction for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs can upend your life in lasting ways. A momentary lapse of judgment can result in limitations on your prospects for work, education, and more – in addition to the fines and possible jail time that come with a conviction.
With all this in mind, you may be curious as to what the prosecutor in a DUI case has to prove in order to successfully convict someone of the crime of driving under the influence under Pennsylvania law.
Elements of the crime
Like all crimes, driving under the influence is made up of a series of elements, established by statute, that the prosecutor has to prove in court by presenting evidence before you can face conviction.
The first element of the crime is that your blood alcohol content was above the legal limit – which is 0.08% blood alcohol content – or that your capacity to safely drive a vehicle was impaired by some substance. You must also have been driving or have been in physical control of a vehicle at the time of the arrest.
Certain elements, if proven, can increase the penalties that typically come with a regular DUI conviction. For example, the amount of alcohol in your blood at the time of arrest can increase your penalty if it is above 0.10%, and it increases again after 0.16%.
Penalties also vary depending on the type of vehicle you were driving, with higher penalties for things such as commercial vehicles and school buses. If there was a child in the vehicle at the time of the offense, the penalties increase considerably as well.
Any criminal proceedings are stressful affairs, especially when you don’t know what to expect. Knowing what the prosecutor will try to prove in your DUI trial can help you to prepare a solid defense with your attorney to present in court.