In Pennsylvania, DUI charges can be filed against sober young people, as a teen recently found out the hard way in Northampton County. Over Labor Day weekend this year, a 19 year old male was stopped at a DUI checkpoint. His SUV was packed with nine other students, whom he was ferrying back to DeSales University after the group had attended a party at nearby Lehigh University. The over-packed car was a Motor Vehicle Code violation in and of itself, made immeasurably worse by the fact that the designated driver had consumed a modest amount of alcohol. According to police, the designated driver's BAC was a mere .02. Although this suggests he had only one drink or had quit drinking hours ago, it is still enough to trigger a DUI in Pennsylvania if the driver is less than 21 years of age.
Lost in the debate about lowering the legal limit for DUI to .05 is one simple fact. You can ALREADY be charged with DUI under Pennsylvania law, even if your BAC is below .08. The Pennsylvania DUI law does not only criminalize driving after imbibing enough alcohol to raise one's BAC above .08 within two hours of driving, it also makes it illegal to drive drunk period.
For a long time, the legal limit for DUI in most states was a BAC of .10. By 2004, every state had lowered its DUI threshold to .08. Now, the National Transportation Safety Board is recommending that all states lower their BAC thresholds to .05. Not surprisingly, bar and restaurant owners associations are in an uproar, while Mother's Against Drunk Driving is praising the recommendation.
The Pennsylvania State Police allege that a Mifflintown was involved in an April 26, 2013, DUI accident in Juniata County. This would be a fairly unremarkable event, but for what happened after the accident. The State Police allege that the defendant tried to flee from the accident scene by swimming across the Juniata River. Unfortunately for the defendant, he did not swim faster than troopers could arrive at the scene. When he was taken into custody, he was found to have a BAC (blood alcohol content) over the legal limit of .08.