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Pennsylvania DUI Laws: FAQ

What constitutes a DUI in Pennsylvania?

In Pennsylvania, if you are of legal drinking age (21 or older), you are considered to be driving "while under the influence" if your blood alcohol level is 0.08 or higher. But, you also may be convicted of DUI at lower BAC levels, if you are stopped by police for driving erratically (too slow, too fast, straddling your lane, making wide turns, stopping for no reason, failing to obey traffic signs and signals, etc.). Additionally, the legal limit for commercial drivers in Pennsylvania is a BAC of 0.04 or above.

What are Pennsylvania’s DUI penalties?

The extent of your penalties for a DUI in Pennsylvania depends on your BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) and is separated into 3 different categories:

(1) BAC (0.08-0.099),

(2) BAC (0.10-0.159), and

(3) BAC (0.16 and Up)

DUI penalties for GENERAL IMPAIRMENT (BAC of 0.08-0.099):

1st Offense:

  • 6 Months Probation,
  • $300 Fine, and
  • No Driver’s License Suspension.

2nd Offense:

  • 5 Days to 6 Months in Jail,
  • $300-$2,500 Fine, and
  • 12 Month Driver’s License Suspension.

3rd Offense:

  • 10 Days to 24 Months in Jail,
  • $500-$5,000 Fine, and
  • 12 Month Driver’s License Suspension.

DUI penalties for HIGH RATE OF IMPAIRMENT (BAC 0.10-0,159):

1st Offense:

  • 2 Days To 6 Months in Prison,
  • $500-$5,000 Fine, and
  • 1 Year License Suspension (occupational limited license available after 60-day suspension).

2nd Offense:

  • 30 Days to 6 Months in Jail,
  • $750-$5,000 Fine, and
  • 12 Month Driver’s License Suspension.

3rd Offense:

  • 90 Days to 5 Years in Jail,
  • $1,500-$10,000 Fine, and
  • 18 Month Driver’s License Suspension.

 

 

 

  • DUI penalties for HIGHEST RATE OF IMPAIRMENT (BAC of 0.16 and Up):

    • These penalties also apply to:
      • Drivers who refuse chemical testing at any BAC level and
      • Drivers convicted of driving under the influence of drugs that are not medically prescribed, a combination of another drug and alcohol or substances such as inhalants.

    1st Offense:

    • 3 Days to 6 Months in Jail,
    • $1,000-$5,000 Fine, and
    • 1 Year License Suspension (occupational limited license available after 60-day suspension).

    2nd Offense:

    • 90 Days to 5 Years in Jail,
    • $1,500 Fine, and
    • 18 Month Driver’s License Suspension.

    3rd Offense:

    • 1-5 Years in Jail,
    • Minimum $2,500 Fine, and
    • 18 Month Driver’s License Suspension.

    Must I consent to a Chemical DUI Test in Pennsylvania?

    According to Pennsylvania’s Implied Consent law you have agreed to take these tests just by being licensed to drive in Pennsylvania. If the police arrest you for DUI of alcohol or drugs and you refuse to take one (1) or more chemical tests of breath, blood or urine, your driving privilege will be automatically suspended for one (1) year. This suspension is in addition to the suspension imposed for a DUI conviction.

    What happens if I refuse a Blood, Breath, or Urine Test under Pennsylvania DUI Law?

    Even if you are found not guilty of a DUI conviction, your driving privilege will be suspended for 1 year for a first-time refusal to take a blood, breath or urine test.

    If you refuse to take a test and you are found guilty of DUI, your driving privilege may be suspended for 2.5 years, depending on your BAC level at the time of the arrest.

    If you refuse chemical testing and have had a prior DUI conviction or a prior refusal for chemical testing, you will face an 18-month suspension for the refusal, plus 18 more months for the DUI conviction, for a total suspension of (3) years.

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    When may I be eligible for the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) after a DUI in Pennsylvania?

    If it is your first DUI Offense at the general impairment level then you will be eligible. Additionally, you may be eligible if it was your first DUI offense at the high or highest impairment levels.

    What happens if I am accepted into the ARD Program after a DUI in Pennsylvania?

    You will:

    • Lose your license for up to 90 days for ARD,
    • Remain under court supervision for 6 months,
    • Pay a fine of between $300 and $5,000 in addition to related fees and other costs,
    • Undergo alcohol and drug evaluation,
    • Possibly Undergo alcohol and drug rehabilitation, and
    • Participate in 12.5 hours of Alcohol Highway Safety School.

    Speak to an Experienced Drunk Driving Attorney Today

    This article is intended to be helpful and informative. But even common legal matters can become complex and stressful. A qualified drunk driving lawyer can address your particular legal needs, explain the law, and represent you in court. Take the first step now and contact a local drunk driving attorney to discuss your specific legal situation.

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