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Pennsylvania Drunk Driving Penalties



Like some other states, Pennsylvania drunk driving laws use a tiered system that provides harsher punishments for those with higher blood-alcohol contents (BAC). These penalties can include anything from driver's license suspensions to prison sentences and fines. There is no doubt about it. A Pennsylvania DWI, also referred to as a DUI, is a serious crime.

Tiers for Pennsylvania DUI Penalties

There are three tiers for Pennsylvania drunk driving penalties.

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, the first tier consists of general impairment penalties. In Pennsylvania, this category of punishments is reserved for those with a BAC ranging from .08 percent to .099 percent. It also applies for those whose BACs were undetermined at the time of arrest but who are guilty of driving while impaired by alcohol.

The second tier for Pennsylvania drunk driving punishments consists of high BAC penalties. These punishments apply to drivers whose BACs fall between .10 percent and .159 percent.

Finally, for drivers with BACs of .16 percent or higher, Pennsylvania DUI law calls for punishments from the highest BAC penalties tier.

Penalties for the Generally Impaired

If your Pennsylvania DUI conviction fits under the general impairment category, your first offense can entail the following penalties:

  • Up to six months of probation
  • $300 fine
  • Pennsylvania DUI school

Under Pennsylvania drunk driving law, the first offense is an ungraded misdemeanor.

Your second general impairment offense in Pennsylvania is still an ungraded misdemeanor, but some of the penalties are increased. For example, you may be punished with:

  • A one-year license suspension
  • Five days to six months in jail
  • $300 to $2,500 fine
  • Pennsylvania DWI school
  • Installation of an ignition interlock device for a year

The third and subsequent times you are found driving generally impaired, you will be charged with a second-degree misdemeanor and face the following penalties:

  • One-year license suspension
  • 10 days to two years in prison
  • $500 to $5,000 fine
  • Installation of an ignition interlock device for a year

Penalties for High BAC

If your Pennsylvania BAC is .10 percent to .159 percent and it is your first DUI offense, you will be charged with an ungraded misdemeanor and may face the following penalties under Pennsylvania drunk driving law:

  • One-year license suspension
  • Two days to six months in prison
  • $500 to $5,000 fine
  • DWI school

If you already have one prior DUI offense, you will still be charged with an ungraded misdemeanor, but the penalties may increase to:

  • One-year license suspension
  • 30 days to six months in prison
  • $750 to $5,000 fine
  • DWI school
  • Installation of an ignition interlock device for a year

If you already have two prior DUI offenses, you will be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor and will be subject to the following penalties:

  • 18-month license suspension
  • 90 days to five years in prison
  • $1,500 to $10,000 fine
  • Installation of an ignition interlock device for a year

Finally, if you already have three or more prior DUI offenses, your minimum prison sentence will increase to one year. All other penalties remain the same.

Penalties for Highest BAC

If you have a BAC of .16 percent or higher at the time of your DUI arrest and you have no prior DUI convictions, your crime is an ungraded misdemeanor, and you may face the following penalties:

  • One-year license suspension
  • Three days to six months in prison
  • $1,000 to $5,000 fine
  • DWI school

If you already have one prior DUI offense, Pennsylvania drunk driving laws say that you will be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor. Under the law, you may face the following penalties:

  • 18-month license suspension
  • 90 days to five years in prison
  • $1,500 to $10,000 fine
  • DWI school
  • Installation of an ignition interlock device for one year

If you have two or more prior DUI offenses, you will still be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor. All penalties remain the same except your minimum prison sentence, which increases to one year.

If you have additional questions about Pennsylvania drunk driving penalties, contact a Pennsylvania DUI attorney in your area.