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Published On: May 3, 2017|Categories: DUI/DWI|

You can’t undo a charge for driving under the influence of drugs in Pennsylvania. Once you’ve committed the crime, it’s in the books. However, understanding the relevant laws can help you decide what to do next and equip you with the knowledge to avoid future mistakes.

Drugged driving laws in Pa

According to Pennsylvania law, no one may drive, operate, or be in control of a vehicle after drinking a significant amount of alcohol or using drugs. While the legal limit for drinking is .08 percent, if a lower amount is enough to hinder safe driving, a lower BAC could have the same legal ramifications.

For a first offense of drunk or drugged driving in PA, you can expect the following.

  • Mandatory six months of probation at minimum;
  • A $300 fine;
  • Participation in an education course approved by the state;
  • Compliance with treatment requirements.

A second offense will require the following.

  • Five day jail sentence;
  • A fine under $2,500;
  • Participation in an education course approved by the state;
  • Compliance with treatment requirements.

A third offense will necessitate the following.

  • 10 day jail sentence;
  • A fine under $5,000;
  • Compliance with treatment requirements.

Additionally, a judge may order an individual to complete up to 150 hours of community services. You can read these drugged driving laws in PA here.

The costs of drugged driving in Pennsylvania

Anyone operating a vehicle in Pa may not be under the influence of a substance or drive while impaired. Whether this is caused by drugs, alcohol or even sleepiness, driving impaired is dangerous to both you and others. Driving under the influence of drugs in Pa can result in drastic legal, emotional, financial and societal costs.

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, the costs of a DUI can include the following.

  • traffic fine;
  • towing costs;
  • impounding;
  • legal fees;
  • alcohol evaluation;
  • accelerated rehabilitative disposition;
  • treatment and educational courses;
  • license restoration;
  • insurance-related costs.

While the financial costs can be calculated, other repercussions can’t be quantified. It’s worth the work to avoid another DUI.

Drugged driving and prescription drugs

These laws hold true whether there is only a single substance or multiple, and whether the substance is prescription or recreational. Too often, prescription drugs (or a combination of drugs) is the culprit for impaired driving.

So while you should take any medications that are prescribed to you, if the drug has an effect on your cognition, vision, decision making, reaction time or so on, you won’t want to get behind the wheel. Talk to your doctor about the effects of your medication if you’re concerned how they may be impacting you.

Drug tests

Upon arrest, drivers suspected of drugged driving will be asked to submit to blood and urine tests. In Pa, drivers who refuse to provide consent will have their driver’s license suspended and their refusal may be used against them during any associated trial proceedings.

If drivers do submit to these tests, they may choose to take additional tests with a healthcare provider of their choosing. These supplementary tests may also be used as evidence in any court proceedings. 

Pennsylvania also has an implied consent law. This means that anyone operating a vehicle, by default, has given consent to these tests by nature of driving in that state. Even a driver who refuses testing may still be arrested if there is reasonable suspicion that he or she is drugged driving.

Treatment for drugged driving in Pennsylvania

Often, one of the legal requirements after a DUI conviction is participation in some form of treatment program. While this step may seem like an extra hoop to jump through before reinstating your license and getting back on the road, it could be the step that changes your life.

Many people who are faced with drugged driving charges are really struggling with a more chronic issue — substance use disorders. An addiction to a drug is bound to affect all areas of your life, but facing this charge now may give you some perspective on your drug use and motivate you to change.

Mandated treatment is a great opportunity to start getting clean. Since you’ll be there anyway, it’s the perfect chance to reinvent yourself and start living for you instead of living as a slave to drugs. 

What to do next

If you’ve been convicted of a drugged driving violation in the state of Pennsylvania, there are things you do to manage the consequences that come with it. Finding legal resources, focusing on stable employment and rebuilding your life will be key in these next few weeks and months.

Rehab After Work can help you get back to where you want to be. With one-on-one and group therapy options, you can process and heal from the emotional distress, especially if you or someone else was injured in an accident. You’ll also get the tools you need to get back on your feet so you can be in charge of your sobriety and your life again.

If you’re facing a DUI charge, there’s no reason to wait. Get in touch with Rehab After Work so you never have to worry about drugged driving again.

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