DUI Penalties in PA

DUI Penalties in PA

DUI penalties in Pennsylvania are one of the most common legal charges in the Keystone State. In fact, around 50,000 Pennsylvanians are hit with this misdemeanor every year. Still, being hit with a DUI can be scary, especially if you don’t know how to respond.

This quick guide will answer all of your questions on the subject, such as;

  • What is the acceptable level of blood alcohol for drivers in PA?
  • How are DUI chargers categorized by detoxification level?
  • What are the repercussions of a DUI in Pennsylvania?
  • How should you fight DUI penalties in PA?
  • What to do if you have a problem with driving while intoxicated?

DUI Penalties In PA Explained

DUI Penalties in PA

Did you know that you could be given DUI penalties in Pennsylvania for riding a bicycle? That’s because it is classified as a vehicle and law enforcement teams can hit you with this misdemeanor when in control of any vehicle while over the legal drinking limit.

We all have unique tolerance levels for alcohol, but DUI laws are set in accordance with your Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) level. As such, the severity of your DUI could fall into any of the following categories:

  • General Impairment – BAC levels are between 0.08 and .099%.
  • High BAC – BAC levels are between .10 and .159% BAC.
  • Highest BAC – BAC levels of .16% and higher.

The penalty for DUI in Pennsylvania will be based on your BAC level and whether you have any previous convictions.

General Impairment DUI Penalties

  • First-time offenders – $300 fine, ungraded misdemeanor, 6 months probation, and the need to attend alcohol highway safety.
  • Second-time offenders – fine of up to $2,500, ungraded misdemeanor, up to 6 months jail time, 12-month license suspension, attend alcohol highway safety school, and 1-year ignition interlock.
  • Third (or more) time offenders – fine of up to $5,000, second-grade misdemeanor, up to 24 months jail time, 12-month license suspension, and 1-year ignition interlock.

High BAC DUI Penalties

  • First time offenders – fine of up to $5,000 fine, ungraded misdemeanor, 12 month license suspension, up to 6 months jail time, and the need to attend alcohol highway safety.
  • Second time offenders – fine of up to $5,000 fine, ungraded misdemeanor, 12 month license suspension, up to 6 months jail time, attending alcohol highway safety school, and 1 year ignition interlock.
  • Third time offenders – fine of up to $7,500 fine, first misdemeanor, 18 month license suspension, up to 5 years months jail time, and 1 year ignition interlock.
  • Fourth (or more) time offenders – fine of up to $10,000 fine, first misdemeanor, 18 month license suspension, up to 5 years months jail time, and 1 year ignition interlock.

Highest BAC DUI Penalties

  • First time offenders – fine of up to $5,000 fine, ungraded misdemeanor, 12 month license suspension, up to 6 months jail time, and the need to attend alcohol highway safety.
  • Second time offenders – fine of up to $10,000 fine, ungraded misdemeanor, 12 month license suspension, up to 6 months jail time, attending alcohol highway safety school, and 1 year ignition interlock.
  • Third time (or more) offenders – fine of up to $10,000 fine, first misdemeanor, 18 month license suspension, up to 5 years months jail time, and 1 year ignition interlock.

While the maximum fines from the Pennsylvania DMV are often the same for first and second time offenders, it should be noted that the lowest possible fine and jail time repercussions get progressively worse.

What To Do After Getting A DUI?

DUI Penalties in PA

When you are arrested for a DUI, it’s scary – not least because Senate Bill 961 (SB 961) increased the fines back in 2018. However, knowing how to retain control in this situation should help you avoid the worst scenarios.

First and foremost, you should take the BAC chemical test. This will instantly reduce the potential damage should your BAC levels fall into the category of General Impairment. Besides, failure to cooperate with law enforcement will only make the situation harder.

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After a conviction, you should quickly contact a DUI attorney that boasts vast experience in handling cases of this nature in PA. DUI laws are complex, but being represented by the right expert will aid your cause. In the meantime, a bail bondsman will be needed to post your bail.

You will subsequently have a period of 10 days to officially request a DMV hearing. Failure to do this will result in an instant suspension of your driver’s license. Finally, you will want to prepare for your arraignment. This is another reason to choose a good DUI attorney as they can argue your innocence or challenge the case for other reasons. 

In turn, you should gain a much smaller sentence and a fine – or, better still, have the case dismissed. 

Getting Help With Your Drunk Driving Problem

DUI Penalties in PA

DUI penalties in PA aren’t the only reason to avoid driving while intoxicated. Even if you feel safe behind the wheel, the truth is that even a small impairment can endanger drivers, passengers, and other road users alike.

Whether you have been hit with a DUI or narrowly escaped one, now is the time to act. Some top tips include;

  • Speak to a professional therapist,
  • Start leaving your keys at home when socializing around alcohol,
  • Ask friends to stop you from making poor decisions,
  • Learn how to enjoy events without alcohol.

The road ahead may feel bumpy from time to time, but it could save your life.

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