Pennsylvania employs a multi-tiered penalty system for drivers convicted of driving under the influence. A first-time DUI usually carries less severe penalties than those for repeat offenders; however, other factors apply.
What are the potential legal consequences for a first DUI offense?
General impairment penalties
A driver convicted of driving with a blood alcohol content of .08 up to .099% who has no previous DUI offenses may receive an ungraded misdemeanor charge. If convicted the penalty is up to six months probation, a fine of $300, the requirement to attend alcohol highway safety school and in some cases, the judge may order treatment for substance abuse.
High BAC penalties
Drivers convicted of driving with a BAC between .10 and .159% and no previous DUIs may also receive an ungraded misdemeanor charge, but the penalty increases to a 12-month license suspension, 48 hours to six months in prison and a fine ranging between $500 and $5,000 in addition to the treatment and safety school requirements.
Highest BAC penalties
Drivers with no previous DUIs convicted of driving while using a controlled substance or with a BAC of .16% or higher may receive an ungraded misdemeanor charge that comes with 72 hours to six months prison sentence and a fine between $1,000 and $5,000 in addition to the other penalties.
Drivers who are minors or commercial drivers or injure someone in an accident while driving under the influence may be subject to the high BAC penalties, even if their blood alcohol level is in the general impairment range. Additionally, drivers who refuse chemical or breath testing may face the highest BAC penalties.