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What are the Penalties for DUI in Pennsylvania

Drunk and drugged driving continues to be a problem in Pennsylvania and across the U.S. In 2017, the Pennsylvania DUI Association reports that there were 10,346 crashes involving alcohol in the state. While alcohol was involved in 8% of accidents in the state, 26% of the fatal crashes involved the use of alcohol. Because of the potential harm that can be caused to others, Pennsylvania has enacted a number of DUI laws that you should know. If you have been charged with a DUI in West Chester or the surrounding area, getting experienced legal help from DiCindio Law may help you to protect your freedom and your rights. Here is some information about the DUI laws in Pennsylvania.

2003 Act 24

In 2003, the Pennsylvania legislature passed Act 24, which was subsequently signed into law by the governor. This law reduced the legal blood alcohol concentration in the state from 0.10% to 0.08% and created DUI offense levels. It also changed the penalties, fines, suspension terms, and other requirements. Under this law, your prior offenses and your BAC are combined to determine the penalties that you might face. First-time offenders are approached with more treatment instead of simply license suspension and punishment.

The three DUI tiers are now as follows:

  • General level of impairment with BACs from 0.08% to 0.099%
  • High BAC with BACs from 0.10% to 0.159%
  • Highest BAC with BACs of 0.16% or higher

Commercial truck and school bus drivers, minors, and people who cause accidents with injuries or property damage may face the high BAC penalties even when their blood alcohol concentration level is below the range. People who refuse to submit to the breath or blood testing may face the penalties for the highest BAC tier.

The penalties for general impairment DUI offenses differ and depend on any prior DUI convictions. If you have no prior offenses and are convicted of a general impairment DUI, you will face the following penalties:

  • Fine of $300
  • Probation for up to 180 days
  • Mandatory attendance in an alcohol safety course
  • Treatment may be ordered

If you have one previous DUI conviction at the general impairment level, you will face the following penalties:

  • 12-month suspension of your license
  • Fine ranging from $300 to $2,500
  • Jail from five days up to six months
  • Installation of an ignition interlock system for one year
  • Alcohol safety course attendance
  • Treatment may be ordered

If you are convicted of a general impairment DUI and have two or more previous convictions, it will be classified as a second-degree misdemeanor. You will face the following penalties:

  • Incarceration ranging from 10 days up to two years
  • 12-month suspension of your license
  • Fine ranging from $500 up to $5,000
  • Treatment may be ordered
  • 12-month installation of an ignition interlock system

For people who have higher blood alcohol concentration levels, you will face greater penalties. If you are convicted of a high BAC DUI and do not have any previous DUI offenses, you will face the following penalties:

  • Incarceration ranging from 48 hours up to six months
  • Suspension of your license for 12 months
  • Fine ranging from $500 up to $5,000
  • Alcohol safety course
  • Treatment may be ordered

If you are convicted of a high BAC DUI with one previous offense, you will face the following penalties:

  • 30 days up to six months of jail
  • 12-month suspension of your license
  • Fine ranging from $750 up to $5,000
  • Alcohol safety school
  • Treatment may be ordered
  • One-year installation of an ignition interlock system

If you are convicted of a high BAC DUI with two or more previous convictions, you will face the following penalties:

  • First-degree misdemeanor
  • Suspension of your license for 18 months
  • Incarceration ranging from 90 days up to five years
  • Fine ranging from $1,500 up to $10,000
  • Treatment may be ordered
  • One year ignition interlock installation

The highest BAC level carries strict penalties, but treatment is allowed. This category is also used for people who are convicted of driving while under the influence of drugs and for those who refuse the breath or chemical tests.

For the highest BAC level with no prior offenses, you will face the following penalties:

  • Jail time from 72 hours to six months
  • 12-month suspension of your license
  • Fine of $1,000 to $5,000
  • Treatment may be ordered
  • Alcohol highway safety school

If you have one prior offense and are convicted of a highest BAC DUI, you will face the following penalties:

  • First-degree misdemeanor
  • 18 month suspension of your license
  • Incarceration of 90 days up to five years
  • Fine of $1,500 to $10,000
  • Treatment may be ordered
  • Alcohol highway safety school
  • One-year ignition interlock installation

A highest BAC conviction when you have two or more prior convictions will subject you to the following penalties:

  • First-degree misdemeanor
  • 18-month suspension of your license
  • One to five years of incarceration
  • Fine of $2,500 to $10,000
  • treatment may be ordered
  • One-year ignition interlock installation

Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition or ARD

Under the law, courts must impose license suspensions based on the person’s BAC level as follows:

  • No suspension if under 0.10%
  • 30-day suspension from 0.10% to under 0.16%
  • 60-day suspension for 0.16% and higher

License suspensions

If it is your first offense and your BAC was less than 0.10%, you will not receive a license suspension. If it is your second or subsequent general impairment offense, your license will be suspended for 12 months. If your BAC is less than 0.16% but equal to or greater than 0.10%, your license will be suspended for 12 months for the first or second offense and for 18 months for the third offense. The highest BAC level will give you a 12 month suspension for the first offense an an 18-month suspension for any subsequent convictions.

Exemptions

There are some exemptions available to drivers. You can apply for a financial hardship exemption to be exempted from having to install an ignition interlock device on all of your vehicles. If you are granted it, you will have to install the system on only one vehicle. Some drivers may be granted an employment exemption to operate company vehicles in the scope and course of their jobs. The employer must be notified, and the driver must carry proof of the notification. This exemption will not be granted to school bus drivers or drivers of large passenger vehicles.

If you are a first DUI offender, you may be granted an occupational limited license after you have served 60 days of your suspension. People whose licenses were suspended for 18 months and who have no more than a single prior offense may be able to get an occupational limited license after they have served 12 months of their suspensions.

If your license is suspended because you drove a vehicle that did not have a mandatory ignition interlock device installed or because you drove while your license was suspended for a DUI, you will not receive credit for the suspension until you have served time in jail. If you refuse to take a breath or blood test, your suspension may be increased.

Contact DiCindio Law

The penalties for DUI convictions in Pennsylvania are fairly severe. If you are facing a DUI charge, it is a good idea for you to seek help from an experienced DUI lawyer in West Chester. Contact DiCindio Law today to schedule a consultation by calling us at 610-430-3535.

 

The above listed information does not include the entire crimes code, annotations, amendments or any recent changes to the law that may be relevant. The information provided is for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments or the most complete legal issues for all cases These materials are not intended, and should not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. It is intended solely for informational purposes.
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