The Philadelphia DUI Law Blog

In New Year's DUI Crash, Man's BAC Was 0.57 Percent

An apparent New Year's Day suicide attempt gone wrong has left a man in police custody and two cars with severe damage. It could also lead to severe consequences for the alleged drunken driver.

Pennsylvania DUI laws are based on the amount of alcohol in the driver's system. So what happens when someone crosses the highest possible level of blood alcohol concentration (BAC)?

The man arrested in the New Year's crash allegedly had a BAC of 0.57 percent, the Reading Eagle reports. That's more than seven times the legal limit -- and, according to experts, past the level at which coma or even death are possible.

The man, Robert P. Fritz, 21, of Hillsdale, New Jersey, was arrested near Kutztown University in Berks County, the Eagle reports. Fritz allegedly drove into a pickup truck in an oncoming lane Tuesday afternoon.

Fritz claimed that he intentionally drove into the pickup truck to kill himself, according to police. He now faces charges of aggravated and simple assault, DUI, reckless endangerment and driving with a suspended license, reports The Reading Eagle.

In Pennsylvania, the highest penalties fall under the category of "Highest BAC." This is for BACs at 0.16 percent or higher.

But here, we're looking at a BAC that's dramatically higher than the Highest BAC. Even in the Highest BAC category, the penalties are scaled depending on the number of prior offenses.

At the lowest level of a Highest BAC charge, an offender can get 72 hours in prison. If, however, the driver has two or more prior DUI offenses, he or she may be looking at one to five years in prison.

Fritz is now spending the first days of 2013 in jail, as he is being held in lieu of his $25,000 bail. His arraignment was Tuesday.

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