What are the different types of DUI offenses?

Many people are charged with driving under the influence in Pennsylvania each year. Commonly, people who are charged with DUI offenses do not have previous experience with the criminal justice system or any previous criminal records. There are multiple types of DUI charges in Pennsylvania that are based on the circumstances surrounding the offense. In some cases, a person will be charged with several DUI offenses based on a single incident. If you have been charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, the legal team at DiCindio Law can explain your charges and the legal options that you have. Here is an explanation of the different types of DUI offenses under Pennsylvania law.

General Impairment DUI

A general impairment DUI may be charged when you have drunk any amount of alcohol if it impairs your driving ability under 75 Pa.C.S. § 3802(a)(1). This means that you may be charged with a DUI when your blood alcohol concentration is lower than 0.08% if it was enough alcohol to impair you. The second type of general impairment DUI offense may be charged when you submit a chemical test that shows your BAC falls in a range of 0.08% to 0.99%. This is a per se general impairment DUI offense that may be charged if your BAC falls in that range within two hours of when you were driving. A general impairment DUI offense is an ungraded misdemeanor.

If you are convicted of a first general impairment DUI offense, you will face the following penalties:

  • $300 fine
  • Probation for up to six months
  • Treatment if ordered
  • Alcohol highway safety school
  • High BAC DUI

Under 75 Pa.C.S. § 3802(b), you may be charged with a high BAC DUI if your blood alcohol concentration test results fall between 0.10% and 0.159% within two hours of when you were driving. Pennsylvania has a three-tier system for DUI offenses based on the BAC level of the driver. A high BAC DUI is the middle tier and is an ungraded misdemeanor. If you are convicted of this offense, you will face the following penalties:

  • Suspension of your license for 12 months
  • 48 hours up to six months in prison
  • Fine of $500 up to $5,000
  • Alcohol highway safety school
  • Treatment may be ordered
  • Highest BAC DUI

The highest tier DUI offense is found in 75 Pa.C.S. § 3802(c). Under this subsection, you may be charged with the highest BAC DUI offense if your blood alcohol concentration tests at 0.16% or higher within two hours of when you last drove. The penalties for a first offense highest BAC DUI are as follows:

  • 72 hours up to six months in prison
  • Fine of $1,000 to $5,000
  • 12-month suspension of your license
  • Treatment if ordered
  • Alcohol highway safety school

The highest BAC DUI offense is an ungraded misdemeanor in Pennsylvania.

DUI – Controlled Substances

Under 75 Pa.C.S. § 3802(d), you can be charged with driving under the influence of controlled substances in any of the following scenarios:

  • You test positive for any amount of a Schedule I drug.
  • You test positive for any amount of a Schedule II or Schedule III drug that has not been prescribed to you.
  • You test positive for metabolites of any Schedule I, II, or III drugs within two hours of driving.

Unlike alcohol, there is no threshold for the amount of controlled substances in your blood for purposes of a DUI. If you are charged with a DUI for controlled substances, you will face the same penalties as the highest BAC DUI even if the substances do not impair you to a high degree.

Baby DUI

If you are younger than age 21, you may be charged with a minor DUI if your BAC results are 0.02% or higher within two hours of driving under 75 Pa.C.S. § 3802(e). This is equivalent to drinking one beer. If you are convicted of a minor DUI, you will face the following penalties:

  • Fine of $500 to $5,000
  • Jail from 48 hours up to six months
  • Suspension of your driver’s license for 12 months
  • Drug and alcohol evaluation with treatment if ordered
  • DUI victim impact panel
  • Judge can order up to 150 hours of community service
  • Alcohol highway traffic safety school

Commercial or school bus driver DUI

Under 75 Pa.C.S. § 3802(f), a commercial vehicle or school bus driver may be charged with a DUI offense even though their BAC levels might be much lower than the state threshold of 0.08%. A commercial vehicle driver can be charged with this type of DUI if he or she has a BAC of 0.04% or higher within two hours of driving. A school bus driver can be charged with a DUI if his or her BAC tests at 0.02% or higher within two hours of driving. If you are convicted of a first CDL DUI, you will face the following penalties:

  • 12 month suspension of your driver’s license
  • 48 hours up to six months in jail
  • Fine of $500 to $5,000
  • Treatment if ordered
  • Alcohol highway safety school

Get help from an experienced DUI attorney

Regardless of which type of DUI offense you have been charged with, getting help from an experienced DUI defense attorney as quickly as possible is important. An attorney can review the evidence and police reports to identify the defenses that might be raised. Your lawyer can explain the options that you might have and work to secure the most favorable resolution possible. Contact DiCindio Law today by filling out our contact form or calling us at 610.430.3535.