Since the passage of Act 24 in 2003, the state of Pennsylvania has been making a strong effort to curtail drinking and driving. These laws made the penalties for DUI stricter, and they made it easier for officers to arrest individuals they deem impaired. For this reason, any DUI charges you receive need to be taken seriously.
That’s why you need to hire a Pennsylvania DUI lawyer as soon as you’re arrested. You don’t want to stand in the courtroom by yourself. With the guidance of a DUI expert, you’ll have a solid, fact-based defense that gives you the best chance of getting the verdict you desire.
Also, you should spend time learning more about Pennsylvania DUI laws. It’s not enough to rely on your lawyer to handle all the decisions for you. After all, it’s your freedom that’s on the line. Take an active interest in your case by educating yourself so that you can make informed decisions for your defense.
Pennsylvania DUI Basics
Pennsylvania DUI laws are a bit different from most states. Not only do they have per se BAC laws, but they also have per se drug laws. In per se BAC cases, the state uses BAC test results to determine whether or not you were drunk while behind the wheel. At first glance, this seems like a fair way of charging people with drunk driving. But it’s not always fair. BAC tests aren’t foolproof. Outside factors can influence the results, causing them to inaccurately say you’re drunk. That’s why it’s so important to have a Pennsylvania DUI lawyer on your team who is well versed in this science and who can analyze the evidence for accuracy.
As far as the per se drug laws, if a test determines you have any measurable amount of drugs in your system, you’ll be charged as if you have the highest amounts of alcohol in your body. Remember, Pennsylvania has stricter charges for individuals with very high BAC counts. So, just a little bit of drugs can land you in the same situation as someone with a BAC of .16% or higher.
Pennsylvania DUI Penalties
Pennsylvania DUI penalties are among the most complex in the nation. Your punishment depends on which of the 3 BAC categories you fall under. We’ll tackle each category below.
BAC between .08% and .099%
If this is your first DUI offense, you’ll be slapped with $300 in fines, placed on probation for up to 6 months, and be ordered to attend alcohol highway safety school.
If this is your second general impairment offense, your penalties include license suspension for one year, up to 6 months in jail, fines up to $2500, alcohol treatment, and an ignition interlock device will be installed on your vehicle.
For your third DUI offense at this BAC level, your penalties include a one-year license suspension, up to 2 years in jail, fines up to $5000, alcohol treatment, and an ignition interlock device on your car for one year.
BAC between .10% and .159%
If this is your first offense at this BAC level, your penalties include a one-year license suspension, up to 6 months in jail, fines up to $5000, and mandatory alcohol treatment.
For your second DUI offense, your license will be suspended for one year, you’ll be in jail for 30 days to 6 months, you’ll pay fines up to $5000, and your vehicle will have an ignition interlock device installed on it.
For your third offense, your license will be suspended for 18 months, you’ll be behind bars for up to 5 years, and you’ll pay up to $10,000 in fines.
BAC above .16%
Your first offense penalties include the following: suspension of license for one year, up to 6 months in jail, fines up to $5000, and mandatory alcohol treatment.
For your second offense, your penalties include an 18-month license suspension, up to 5 years in jail, fines up to $10,000, and an ignition interlocking device placed on your car.
Third-time offenders face the following penalties: 18-month license suspension, 1 to 5 years in jail, fines up to $10,000, and an ignition interlock device on your vehicle.