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Pennsylvania is home to beautiful countryside, historic landmarks, and vibrant city life. But whether you're visiting Valley Forge or bar hopping in the City of Brotherly Love, don't let a DUI dampen your travels. Although the state has relaxed some of its penalties in recent years, Pennsylvania still takes drunk driving seriously and includes fines, jail time, and license suspension among the possible penalties. If you've been arrested for drunk driving or a related offense, you should become familiar with Pennsylvania drunk driving laws and the likely consequences of a conviction.
In Pennsylvania, a person may not drive, operate, or be in physical control of a vehicle while impaired by alcohol. To determine if a driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, a police officer usually conducts field sobriety tests and checks your blood-alcohol concentration (BAC). Pennsylvania also has an "Illegal Per Se" provision which means that it is illegal to drive with a BAC of .08 percent or higher. In these cases, the prosecution only needs to show that your BAC was at least .08 percent within two hours after you were stopped (Sec. 3802).
Pennsylvania drunk driving laws also state the following regarding blood-alcohol testing:
If you're under 21, it's illegal to drive with a BAC of .02 percent or more (Sec. 3802(e)). The consequences for a first offense includes at least 48 hours of jail time, a fine of $500 to $5,000, and alcohol highway safety school (Sec. 3804(b)).
Pennsylvania uses a three-tiered approach to DUI penalties and treatment, and consequences vary depending on your BAC level and number of prior offenses. The approach focuses on treatment rather than punishment for first-time DUI offenders.
Pennsylvania statutes include the following consequences for driving under the influence:
Read the full text of the Pennsylvania Statutes and Constitution for more details.
In Pennsylvania, you can be arrested for a DUI even if you're simply parked on the side of the road with the keys in the ignition. If you have been arrested, you can still challenge aspects of your arrest, such as the protocol followed by law enforcement, the BAC testing equipment, and the reason for the traffic stop in the first place. An experienced DUI defense attorney can explain your legal options and help protect your rights.
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.