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What Are the Penalties for DUI in Pennsylvania?

Pennsylvania takes DUI charges very seriously, and convictions often result in harsh penalties. If you’re facing DUI charges in Pennsylvania, a skilled lawyer can help. An attorney can use their experience in and knowledge of DUI laws to defend your rights and potentially have your charges reduced or dismissed.

DUI Penalties in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania’s DUI laws use a tiered approach when it comes to imposing penalties for a conviction. This means the penalties for a DUI depend on two main factors: the driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC) and their history of DUI offenses. Here’s a breakdown of how this works:

General Impairment (BAC from .08 to .099%)

This is the least severe tier for DUI offenses, but these charges still carry significant consequences.

  • No prior DUIs: This is an ungraded misdemeanor that carries up to six months probation, a $300 fine, and possibly alcohol highway safety school attendance or other treatment.
  • One prior offense: This is still an ungraded misdemeanor, but penalties include a 12-month license suspension, five days to six months in jail, and a fine between $300 to $2,500. Drivers must also attend alcohol highway safety classes and use ignition interlock devices for a year.
  • Two or more priors: This is a 2nd-degree misdemeanor with penalties such as a 12-month license suspension, 10 days to two years in prison, a $500 to $5,000 fine, treatment, and use of an ignition interlock device for one year.


High BAC (BAC from .10 to .159%)

A person convicted of DUI with a high BAC will face harsher penalties.

  • No priors: This ungraded misdemeanor can lead to a 12-month license suspension, 48 hours to six months in prison, and a $500 to $5,000 fine. Alcohol highway safety school and treatment might also be required.
  • One prior offense: Penalties include a 30-day to six-month prison sentence, a $750 to $5,000 fine, and the mandatory use of an ignition interlock device for a year.
  • Two or more priors: This is a 1st-degree misdemeanor with penalties that include an 18-month license suspension, 90 days to five years in prison, a $1,500 to $10,000 fine, and treatment and IID requirements.


Highest BAC (BAC of .16% and higher) or Controlled Substance

This category, which imposes the strictest penalties, applies to drivers with the highest BAC levels or those under the influence of controlled substances.

  • No priors: Penalties include a 12-month license suspension, 72 hours to six months in prison, a $1,000 to $5,000 fine, and mandatory alcohol highway safety school and treatment.
  • One prior offense: This 1st-degree misdemeanor can result in an 18-month license suspension, 90 days to five years in prison, a $1,500 to $10,000 fine, and treatment requirements.
  • Two or more priors: This offense is also a 1st-degree misdemeanor but carries a one to five-year prison sentence and a $2,500 to $10,000 fine.

No matter how serious your DUI case is, a criminal defense attorney can use even the smallest detail to drop or reduce your charges. One way we can do this is by offering alternative sentencing options, like house arrest. A Lancaster DUI attorney who has experience with the ins and outs of house arrest could possibly help you avoid a prison sentence.

Contact a DUI Defense Attorney in Pennsylvania Now

Still have questions about your DUI defense case? Talk to a knowledgeable defense attorney at Chieppor & Egner now. We can listen to your story, answer your questions, and discuss next steps when you contact us for an initial consultation.

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