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Pennsylvania DUI Arrests Up for Ninth Straight Year

New data reveals that Pennsylvania state trooper DUI arrests are up again, continuing a nine-year trend.

Between 2009 and 2010, there was a 5% increase in arrests for driving under the influence, totaling 17,695 arrests. Meanwhile, the number of alcohol-related crashes dropped by over 100.

The rise in DUI arrests can be attributed to various new techniques employed by law enforcement. Seventy state troopers and 22 municipal law enforcement officers have become drug-recognition experts and have completed 4,000 evaluations on Pennsylvania roads. These drug-recognition experts monitor pulse rates and perform blood tests in addition to traditional breathalyzer tests to determine intoxication. According to Robert B. Voas of the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, 20% to 50% of drunk drivers also have drugs in their systems.

In addition to the new drug-recognition expert certifications, Pennsylvania troopers also use checkpoints and roving patrols to catch drunk drivers. The state police can set up checkpoints and roving patrols when they see that DUI crashes and arrests have increased in a certain part of the state. For example, over the weekend of May 13th, state police set up checkpoints and patrolled in parts of Lackawanna County, since there has been an increase of DUI offenses in that county.

Pennsylvania has a pretty tough stance against drunk drivers. The legal limit is .08 percent blood alcohol concentration, and being convicted of a DUI in the state can result in a fine ranging from $300 to $5000 depending on blood-alcohol concentration levels and the number of previous DUIs. Jail time may be added to the fines as well as an ignition interlock device, which requires a driver to blow into a breathalyzer before the device will unlock a vehicle's ignition.

Pennsylvania's state troopers have invested a lot of money and manpower in curbing drunk driving. If you or a loved one have been accused of a DUI offense, it is important to seek the advice of an experienced DUI attorney.

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Gregory R. Gifford
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