Understanding DUI In Pennsylvania

Understanding DUI in Pennsylvania requires you to understand the legal limits in the state, and the penalties for each of those limits which is proven at the time of your arrest.

Penalties and Fines For DUI In Pennsylvania 

There are three blood-alcohol content (BAC) levels in Pennsylvania, with three different penalties and fines for each tier:

  • General Impairment – BAC of .08 to .099 percent
  • High Rate of  Impairment – BAC of .10 to .159 percent
  • Highest Rate of Impairment – BAC of .16 percent or higher

If you are arrested under the general impairment level, the penalties are:

  • 1st Time Offense non-DUI– Maximum six months’ probation, $300 fine, alcohol highway safety school and possible alcohol treatment. No suspension
  • Second Offense –Five days minimum incarceration up to six months’ probation, $300 to $2,500 fine, alcohol highway safety school, license suspension for one year, and alcohol or drug treatment, if ordered. 12-month driver’s license suspension,
  • Third Offense Or More –10 days minimum incarceration with up to two years jail sentence, $500 to $5,000 fine, 12-month driver’s license suspension, one-year IID installation (An IID is a breath-test device that disables your vehicle if your breath exceeds specified BAC levels.)  and possible alcohol and drug treatment.

If you are arrested under the high impairment level, the penalties are:

  • 1st Time Offense – 12-month driver’s license suspension, two days to six months jail sentence, $500 to $5,000 fine, alcohol highway safety school and possible alcohol treatment.
  • Second Offense – 12-month driver’s license suspension, 30 days to six months jail sentence, $750 to $5,000 fine, alcohol highway safety school, possible alcohol treatment and one-year IID installation.
  • Third Offense – 18-month driver’s license suspension, 90 days to five years jail sentence, $1,500 to $10,000 fine, possible alcohol treatment, one year IID installation with additional suspension.
  • Fourth Offense Or More– Mandatory state incarceration. (However we can file motions to lessen the mandatory sentence aspect.) 18-month driver’s license suspension, one to five-year jail sentence, $1,500 to $10,00 fine, alcohol treatment and one-year IID installation with additional suspension.

If you are arrested under the highest impairment level, the penalties are:

  • 1st Time Offense – 12-month driver’s license suspension, three days to six months jail sentence, $1,000 to $5,000 fine, alcohol highway safety school and possible alcohol and drug treatment.
  • Second Offense – 18-month driver’s license suspension, 90 days to five-year jail sentence, $1,500 to $10,000 fine, alcohol highway safety school, alcohol treatment and one-year IID installation with additional suspension.
  • Third Offense – 18-month driver’s license suspension, one to five-year jail sentence, mandatory state sentence, $2,500 to $10,000 fine, possible alcohol treatment and one-year IID installation with additional suspension.

It’s also important to remember that Pennsylvania is an ‘implied consent’ state, which means that if you refuse to submit to a chemical test, the state suspends your license for 12 months (first offense) or 18 months (second or third offense), and your refusal will be considered by the court negatively when you go to trial or fight the DUI charges. (‘consciousness of guilt’)

The above outline should not be considered complete as it does not include the possibility of ARD resolution for a DUI charge (see our DUI diversionary programs blog dated February 21,2018) or the possibility of the Ignition Interlock License. (see our IILL blog dated March 6,2018)

Defending a DUI Charge 

A DUI arrest doesn’t necessarily mean that you are going to be convicted, but you need to hire an experienced lawyer as soon as possible. The Law Offices of Steven F. O’ Meara has helped many DUI clients by protecting their rights and investigating whether their arrest was lawful. Suppression of the stop and arrest or evidence are just two ways to protect you from an improper conviction. Please contact us for a free consultation.