A DUI conviction in Pennsylvania carries harsh penalties. The consequences you might face after being convicted of driving while impaired will depend on your blood alcohol concentration, whether your DUI involved drugs, and your criminal record. In addition to the criminal penalties, having a criminal record can also result in other consequences in your life. If you are facing a DUI charge, you should contact a criminal defense attorney in West Chester, PA at DiCindio Law as soon as possible.
How DUI penalties are determined in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania divides DUI offenses by the blood alcohol concentration of the driver within two hours of his or her arrest. As the BAC increases, the penalties also go up.
A general impairment DUI is charged when someone has a BAC from 0.08% to 0.099% at the time of the arrest. A high BAC DUI is charged when a person drives with a BAC from 0.10% to 0.159%. Finally, the highest BAC DUI can be charged when someone drives with a BAC of 0.16% or higher. You can also be charged at the highest BAC level if you drive while impaired by drugs or refuse a chemical test.
Penalties for first convictions
If you are convicted of a first DUI offense, the penalties you might face will depend on your BAC as described below:
First general impairment conviction – Six months of probation, $300 fine, alcohol highway safety school, drug and alcohol classes, and classes if ordered
First high BAC DUI conviction – Minimum of 48 hours to six months of jail, fine of $500 to $5,000, license suspension for 12 months, alcohol highway safety school, alcohol assessment, and classes if ordered
First highest BAC DUI conviction – Jail from 72 hours up to six months, fine from $1,000 to $5,000, 12-month license suspension, alcohol highway safety school, alcohol assessment, and classes if ordered
First-time DUI offenders might qualify for the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition program. If you are accepted and complete the requirements of this program, your charge will be dismissed and help you to prevent having anything on your criminal record.
The penalties are much harsher when you are convicted of a third DUI within 10 years. The potential consequences include the following:
Third general impairment DUI conviction – Minimum 10 days up to two years in prison, 12-month suspension, alcohol highway safety school, alcohol assessment, treatment if ordered, fine from $500 to $5,000
Third high BAC conviction – First-degree misdemeanor, 18-month license suspension, a minimum prison term of 90 days up to five years, Fine from $1,500 up to $10,000, alcohol highway safety school, alcohol assessment, and treatment
Third highest-BAC conviction – Third-degree felony, 18-month license suspension, a minimum of 1 year and up to seven years in prison, fine of up to $15,000, alcohol highway safety school, alcohol assessment, and treatment if ordered.
For all BAC levels, you will also have to install an ignition interlock device.
Collateral consequences of a DUI conviction
Having anything on your criminal record can hurt your ability to find employment, including a first DUI conviction. When you apply for a job, an employer that conducts a background check will see your DUI and might hesitate to hire you. This is especially true if you have a third-degree felony DUI conviction on your record. People who have felony convictions on their criminal records may struggle to find jobs, be approved for apartments and credit, and have difficulty in their interpersonal relationships. These types of consequences can be ongoing and cause problems
in your life long after you have completed your sentence.
Get help from an experienced criminal defense attorney near me
If you are facing DUI charges in Pennsylvania, the penalties you might face are severe no matter your BAC level. If you have multiple DUI convictions within the past 10 years, you could be charged with a felony. Having the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney in West Chester, PA could make a difference in the outcome of your case. Contact DiCindio Law today to request a consultation by calling us at 610-430-3535.