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Pittsburgh DUI Results in Fatal Crash, 1 Year in Prison

Pittsburgh DUI Results in Fatal Crash, 1 Year in Prison


A 51-year-old driver convicted of a Pittsburgh DUI that resulted in the death of a 35-year-old mother was setenced to six months to a year in prison.

Our Pittsburgh DUI attorneys know that drunk driving offenses that result in the death of another person can mean serious penalties. Under Pennsylvania Statute 3732, homicide by vehicle, a third-degree felony, can be filed any time a person is accused of gross negligence or recklessness behind the wheel that causes the death of another. This law is punishable by a sentence of up to five years in prison.

Since 2003, a DUI in Pittsburgh has been defined as having a blood alcohol measurement of 0.08 or higher. It used to be 0.10, but state legislature moved to lower the limit nine years ago. For a first offense, it's considered a misdemeanor crime punishable by six months of probation, a $300 fine, alcohol safety courses and, in some cases, treatment. The penalties get more stringent with each subsequent offense.

In this case, the 51-year-old driver of Bellevue reportedly had a blood alcohol level of 0.055 - which is below the legal limit - but he was also prescribed painkillers, which police and prosecutors determined made him unsafe on the road.

He was riding his motorcycle in Brighton Heights with his girlfriend when he came upon the limb of a tree in the middle of the roadway. He lost control of the motorcycle, and the woman was thrown from the vehicle and killed.

In an Allegheny County Common Pleas courtroom, the defendant pleaded guilty in February to DUI and homicide by vehicle. What also likely counted against him was a previous DUI conviction five years ago. A second DUI conviction can mean a one-year license suspension and up to six months in jail.

In this case, the judge is allowing the individual to serve his sentence in alternative housing and will be allowed work release if he has approved employment.