Getting your first DUI in Pennsylvania may not mean jail time, but your second offense certainly could. After your first offense you can expect to have your license suspended and receive some hefty fines. Additional DUIs will result in massive fines, mandatory classes, probation or jail time. Some of the consequences for driving under the influence may include ignition interlocks as well. Of course, the aftermath of a DUI goes far beyond what the court decides and will impact you for the rest of your life.
DUI Levels in Pennsylvania
In the state of Pennsylvania, there are three distinct levels of DUI, and they are based on blood alcohol levels (BAC):
- General impairment, associated with a BAC of 0.08% to 0.10%
- High BAC, associated with a BAC of 0.10% to 0.16%
- Highest BAC, associated with a BAC of 0.16% or higher
The legal consequences you face with a DUI do not vary just according to your BAC, but according to how many past DUIs are on your record.
The level that Pennsylvania uses for general impairment begins at the same standard level of impairment used in most states (BAC of 0.08%) and can also apply to undetermined levels of impairment. The penalties vary depending on how many offenses are on your record before receiving the current DUI.
- If you have a clean record, expect a CRN evaluation (a pre-screening tool to determine if you require a more comprehensive drug and alcohol evaluation), a $300 fine, six months of probation, and the possibility of mandatory attendance of classes dealing with highway and alcohol safety
- If you have prior DUIs, expect up to six months of jail time, a license suspension of up to one year, an ignition interlock device (which prevents your ignition from starting unless you’ve taken a breathalyzer test), and a maximum fine of $2,500
- If you have more than 2 prior DUIs, expect the maximum penalty: second-degree misdemeanor charge, jail time up to 2 years, and fines up to $5,000
The consequences for a High BAC (0.10% to 0.16%) are significantly worse.
- If you have no prior DUIs, you face a sentence between two days and six months of jail time, a one-year license suspension, CRN evaluation, a maximum fine of $2,500, and you may be required to attend highway and alcohol safety classes and receive treatment
- If you have prior DUIs, you face between 30 days and six months of jail time, a one-year license suspension, the possibility of an ignition interlock device, a fine between $750 and $2,500, and the possibility of mandatory highway and alcohol safety classes and treatment
- If you have two or three DUIs already on your record, you will also be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor and receive an 18-month license suspension in addition the penalties already discussed
- If you have two DUIs, your jail term will be between 90 days and five years; if you have three or more DUIs, your jail term will be one to five years in prison
The Highest BAC tier means very serious consequences.
- With no prior DUIs, you will face a 12-month license suspension, a fine between $1,000 and $5,000, between three days and six months of prison, mandatory attendance of alcohol and highway safety classes, and possible treatment
- With one or more DUIs, you will face an 18-month license suspension, an ignition interlock device for one year, a first-degree misdemeanor charge, a fine up to $10,000 that starts at $2,500 if you have two or more DUIs, and a maximum five-year jail term
The Aftermath of a DUI
If your license is suspended, you lose quite a bit of your independence, and you could end up losing your job. Mandatory safety classes cannot be attended at your convenience and may interfere with job or college schedules and be difficult to attend if your license has been revoked. If fines are imposed, you may not have the funds to pay them, which can be further complicated if you don’t have a job.
Jail time affects your family, your loved ones, your job, your career, and the rest of your life. It can make it extremely difficult for you to find work once you are released and cause problems any time a background check is run. A DUI is a serious, life-altering charge that should be avoided at all costs. Driving under the influence is not worth the risk to you or to the other drivers on the road.
Getting a DUI in the state of Pennsylvania is a serious matter, and the legal consequences vary according to your BAC and your past driving record. DUIs are taken very seriously, and the jail terms, fines, mandatory classes, and license suspensions that accompany them are meant to make an example and send a message: do not drink and drive. Contact Robert L. Schwarz Right Away if You’ve Received a DUI!
If you or someone you care about is faced with a DUI, contact the law offices of Robert L. Schwarz immediately. With experience as both a private criminal attorney and a former Delaware County Public Defender, I can and will make sure that your rights are aggressively defended. Whether it’s your first DUI or one of several, contact my office today to request a case evaluation and let me defend your legal rights!