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Driving Under The Influence in PA

DUI in Pennsylvania

A DUI conviction in Pennsylvania can have a permanent impact on your life, and affect your freedom, reputation, employment opportunities, and your ability to drive. In 2019 alone, troopers of the Pennsylvania State Police made 22,139 DUI arrests – a 10% increase from the previous year.

Data from 2013 to 2017 shows that one in 6,896 residents of Northampton County was killed in DUI-related accidents, while the figure for Lehigh County DUI fatalities during the same period was one in 7,967 residents. 

BAC Limit and Penalties in PA 

The legal blood alcohol content (BAC) limit in PA is below .08%. You could face a DUI arrest, if you are caught driving with a BAC of .08% or above. First DUI penalties in these cases may apply as follows: 

  • BAC .08 to .099%: No license suspension, mandatory minimum of 6 months’ probation to a maximum of 6 months’ incarceration, $300 in fines, required attendance at classes for alcohol safety school, undergo a CRN evaluation (used to see if you will be referred for a more thorough drug and alcohol assessment), ARD eligible. 
  • BAC .10 to .159%, Minors with .02% BAC, CDL drivers with .04% BAC, School Bus/Vehicle drivers with .04% BAC: 1 year driver’s license suspension, mandatory minimum of 48 hours to maximum 6 months incarceration, fine between $500 and $5,000, required attendance at classes for alcohol safety school, CRN evaluation, 1 year Ignition Interlock, ARD eligible. 
  • BAC .16% or higher, minimum levels of controlled substances in blood: 1 year driver’s license suspension, mandatory minimum of 72 hours to maximum 6 months incarceration, fine between $1,000 and $5,000, required attendance at classes for alcohol safety school, CRN evaluation, 1 year Ignition Interlock, ARD eligible.

Penalties for a Second DUI Offense in PA

  • BAC .08% to .099%: 1 year driver’s license suspension, mandatory minimum 5 days to maximum 6 months incarceration, fine between $300 and $2,500, attendance at alcohol safety school, CRN evaluation, 1 year Ignition Interlock, house arrest/work release eligible.
  • BAC .10% to .159%, Minors with .02% BAC, CDL drivers with .04% BAC, School Bus/Vehicle drivers with .04% BAC: 1 year driver’s license, mandatory minimum of 30 days to maximum of 6 months incarceration, fine between $750 and $5,000, attendance at alcohol safety school, CRN evaluation, 1 year Ignition Interlock, house arrest/work release eligible.
  • BAC .16% and above: 18 months driver’s license suspension, mandatory minimum 90 days to maximum 5 years incarceration, $1,500 fine, attendance at alcohol safety school, CRN evaluation, 1 year Ignition Interlock, house arrest/work release eligible.

Penalties for 3rd and subsequent offense(s) are much harsher and harder to negotiate.

Additional Consequences of a DUI Conviction

  • Difficulty or ineligibility in acquiring a professional license
  • Difficulty in retaining current job and seeking future employment 
  • Hurdles in obtaining approval for rental housing 
  • Challenges related to immigration 
  • Higher car insurance premiums
  • Issues related to child custody and visitation 

Can You Get Jail Time for a First DUI Charge? 

First-time DUI offenders could face jail time in Pennsylvania if additional circumstances such as these are involved: 

  • DUI offender caused an accident or injury 
  • DUI offender refused to undergo a breathalyzer or blood test
  • DUI offender resisted arrest

The law in Pennsylvania requires you to submit to a breathalyzer test and blood testing if a police officer suspects you were driving drunk. You could face severe penalties, including a suspended driver’s license and even jail time, even if you are a first-time DUI offender who refused to take a breathalyzer or blood test. BAC test refusal in PA is essentially treated the same as failing the test.

DUI Plea Options in PA

A skilled DUI attorney in Pennsylvania will aim to have your charges dismissed or explore the possibility of alternative sentencing options like the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) Program. Depending on the case, your lawyer may sometimes negotiate a plea option to get the DUI charge lowered to a charge that is not as harsh, such as alcohol-related reckless driving.

Talk to an Experienced DUI Lawyer in Eastern PA

At Robinson Law in Eastern Pennsylvania, Attorney Paula Robinson will leave no stone unturned to achieve the best possible outcome in a DUI case. If you are facing a DUI charge, call us right away at 215.530.7166 for a free consultation and case review.