How Common are DUI Arrests in Pennsylvania?
DUI stands for Driving Under the Influence. (Other jurisdictions, like New Jersey, alternately refer to DUI as DWI, or Driving While Intoxicated.) Because the phrase “under the influence” is commonly associated with alcohol, and because DUI is often described as “drunk driving,” it has become a widespread and persistent misconception that DUI is based strictly on alcohol consumption. Simply put, this idea is inaccurate: drivers who are under the influence of drugs can also be charged with committing DUI.
Whether or not a driver is dangerously intoxicated is not determined based on the driver’s personal input. A driver may feel perfectly sober, but what matters is not opinion, but BAC. BAC, or Blood Alcohol Content, can be measured in various ways, such as blood testing; but breathalyzer testing is arguably more common.
Depending on factors such as a metabolism, food intake, and height and weight, the same amount of alcohol can cause a different BAC in different individuals. In Pennsylvania, the BAC cut-off point for most drivers is 0.08%. However, some categories of drivers are subject to an even lower threshold. For example, many commercial drivers are limited to a BAC of 0.04%, and school bus drivers in particular are limited to a BAC of just 0.02%. 0.02% is also the limit for underage drinkers (who are already violating the law by drinking while underage).
Needless to say, drugs such as marijuana or prescription medication will not yield a BAC to members of law enforcement. Instead, police officers use alternate techniques to evaluate drug intoxication. DREs, or Drug Recognition Experts, are specially trained to “recognize” the effects of drugs, and may give testimony in court regarding the impairment of a driver. Additionally, any tell-tale signs of drug use, such as drug paraphernalia in the driver’s vehicle, or obvious physical side effects (e.g. red eyes), will also be considered.
Who Gets Arrested for DUI in Pennsylvania?
Anyone an be arrested for DUI, regardless of age, gender, race, or other factors. Historically speaking, more men have been arrested for DUI than women, but the gender gap is gradually narrowing. In 1990, only 12.3% of DUI arrests in Pennsylvania were made against women; but by 2011, that amount increased to 24.2%.
Just as the amount of women arrested for DUI is increasing, the amount of minorities arrested for DUI is rising in turn. In 1990, just over 7% of all DUI arrests in Pennsylvania were made against minorities, while in 2011, minority arrests comprised 14.7% of DUI arrests. These figures mean that from 1990 to 2011, the amount of women and minorities arrested for DUI both doubled.
Nonetheless, the majority of Pennsylvania DUI arrests are made against white males. According to statistics released by the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency, in 2011:
- 75.8% of people arrested for DUI were male
- 85.3% of people arrested for DUI were white
In terms of age, according to the 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, the highest concentration of drunk drivers falls within the 21-25 year old age range. Nationally, this age group constitutes nearly a quarter of all drunk drivers, at 23.4%. In 2011, 41 out of 407 alcohol-impaired driving fatalities in Pennsylvania involved drivers under the age of 21.
While young white males are the most likely to be charged with DUI from a statistical perspective, Marr says:
It is varied. I have seen kids as young as 16 get pulled over for DUI. I once had a client in his 80s who was pulled over for a DUI. It can really happen to anybody. I have pretty much seen everybody, from the young to senior citizens. It is usually split between men and women pretty equally, 50/50.
How Common Are DUI Charges in Pennsylvania?
In Pennsylvania and throughout America, DUI is an extremely common occurrence. In terms of frequency, DUI stands head and shoulders above many other offenses — but just how many DUIs are there in Pennsylvania?
There are tens of thousands of people every year, in Pennsylvania, getting arrested for DUI
Not only are DUI arrests alarmingly common, so are the deaths and injuries that can sometimes result. According to the Century Council, in 2011, Pennsylvania reported 407 motor fatalities related to alcohol. Additional statistics released by the Century Council report 48,519 DUI arrests in Pennsylvania in 2011 — that’s an average of approximately 133 arrests per day.
Counties Our DUI Attorneys Serve
At Young, Marr & Associates, our DUI attorneys represent men and women across Southeastern Pennsylvania. Our expert legal team has worked with clients in:
Just a few of the communities we serve include:
- King of Prussia
If you are facing DUI charges in Pennsylvania, you risk losing your license, being forced to pay expensive fines, and even going to jail; but an aggressive and knowledgeable DUI lawyer can help. The experienced Pennsylvania DUI defense attorneys at Young, Marr & Associates have a proven track record of success in reducing charges and obtaining case dismissals: over 98% of our first-offense DUI clients do not result in jail time or a criminal record. To arrange for a free consultation with a member of our legal team, contact our law offices online, or call Young, Marr & Associates at (609) 755-3115 in New Jersey or (215) 701-6519 in Pennsylvania.