Pennsylvania DUI Laws

Pennsylvania DUI Laws

In 2003, Pennsylvania took a major leap toward eradicating drunk driving through the passing of Act 24.

In a nutshell, Act 24 made it easier for law enforcement to confront the drinking and driving problem by dropping the legal blood alcohol content limit for drivers down to 0.08%, and it introduced alcohol treatment into the penalty package.

Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) Defined

The state operates behind a three-tiered definition for DUI based on a driver’s BAC:

  • General impairment: 0.08% to 0.099%
  • High BAC: 0.10% to 0.159%
  • Highest BAC: 0.16% and up OR a controlled substance

Penalties

Penalties for DUI are broken down by the BAC level. Those who refuse a chemical test or are found to be under the influence of a controlled substance will face the highest BAC penalties. The courts also have the option of adding 150 hours of community service to any and all DUI or test refusal charges.

General Impairment BAC 0.08% to 0.099%

1st offense:

  • 6 months of probation.
  • $300 fine.
  • Mandatory alcohol highway safety school.
  • Alcohol and drug treatment.

2nd offense:

  • Drivers license suspended for 1 year.
  • 5 days to 6 months in prison.
  • Fine ranging $300 to $2,500.
  • Mandatory alcohol highway safety school.
  • Alcohol and drug treatment.
  • Ignition Interlock system for 1 year.

3rd offense:

  • 2nd degree misdemeanor charge.
  • Driver’s license suspended for 1 year.
  • Prison from 10 days to 2 years.
  • Fine ranging $500 to $5,000.
  • Alcohol and drug treatment.
  • Ignition Interlock system for 1 year.

High BAC 0.10% to 0.159%

1st offense:

  • License suspended for 1 year.
  • 48 hours to 6 months in prison.
  • Fine ranging $500 to $5,000.
  • Mandatory alcohol highway safety school.
  • Alcohol and drug treatment.

2nd offense:

  • Automatic driver’s license suspension for 1 year.
  • 30 days to 6 months in prison.
  • Fine ranging $750 to $5,000.
  • Mandatory alcohol highway safety school.
  • Alcohol and drug treatment.
  • Ignition Interlock system for 1 year.

3rd offense:

  • 1st degree misdemeanor charge.
  • Automatic license suspension of 18 months.
  • 90 days to 5 years in prison.
  • Fine ranging $1,500 to $10,000.
  • Alcohol and drug treatment.
  • Ignition Interlock system for 1 year.

4th offense (and subsequent offenses):

  • 1st degree misdemeanor charge.
  • Automatic suspension for 18 months.
  • 1 to 5 years in prison.
  • Fine ranging $1,500 to $10,000.
  • Alcohol and drug treatment.
  • Ignition Interlock system for 1 year.

Highest BAC 0.16% and over OR Controlled Substance

1st offense:

  • License suspended for 1 year.
  • 72 hours to 6 months in prison.
  • Fine ranging $1,000 to $5,000.
  • Mandatory alcohol highway safety school.
  • Alcohol and drug treatment.

2nd offense:

  • 1st degree misdemeanor charge.
  • Automatic suspension of 18 months.
  • 90 days to 5 years in prison.
  • Fine ranging $1,500 to $10,000.
  • Mandatory alcohol highway safety school.
  • Alcohol and drug treatment.
  • Ignition Interlock system for 1 year.

3rd offense (and subsequent offenses):

  • 1st degree misdemeanor charge.
  • Automatic suspension of 18 months.
  • 1 to 5 years in prison.
  • Fine ranging $2,500 to $10,000.
  • Alcohol and drug treatment.
  • Ignition Interlock system for 1 year.

Pennsylvania Zero Tolerance DUI Laws

Those convicted of a DUI in Pennsylvania under the age of 21 years old will:

  • Have their license will be suspended for 1 year.
  • Go to jail for 2 days to 6 months.
  • Be fined $500 to $5,000.

Underage Drinking

Pennsylvania takes DUI very seriously. In order to discourage minors from drinking and driving they have instituted tough laws to combat any underage drinking. If you are caught drinking under 21 years old you will face these minimum penalties:

  • A $500 fine.
  • Court costs.
  • Driver’s license suspension:
    • 1st offense: 90 days.
    • 2nd offense: 1 year.
    • 3rd and subsequent offenses: 2 years.

If you do not have a license at the time you are charged with underage drinking, you will be prevented from applying for one until your suspension time is over.

Accelerated Rehabilitation Disposition (ARD)

1st offenses for high or highest BAC may qualify for the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) program. If you are accepted into the program you will be required to attend 12 1/2 hours at the Alcohol Highway Safety School as well as enroll in drug and/or alcohol treatment. Those facing DUI charges in Pennsylvania will lose their license for up to 90 days, be under court supervision for 6 months, be responsible for all fees and a fine from $300 to $5,000.

The Pennsylvania Accelerated Rehabilitation Diversion Program (ARD) allows a person charged with a crime to avoid going to jail, paying a hefty fine, or obtaining a criminal record. The program is administered by the District Attorney’s office of the county in which the offense was committed. The District Attorney has to approve a prospective program participant’s entry into the program after reviewing the nature of the offense and past criminal record. If you are approved as a program participant, you will be put on probation for a specified time, be ordered to pay court costs, and may have to perform community service. Upon graduating from the program and the completion of probation, the criminal charge will be dismissed and no criminal record will result. The arrest record may potentially be expunged as well. In order to get into the ARD program you must have no criminal history. Your attorney will submit an application on your behalf to the District Attorney’s Office within 30 days of your preliminary hearing. At the hearing, the attorney will speak to the police officer to obtain their position on your ARD placement. The attorney will attempt to convince the police officer that ARD is best for you and determine whether she has any concerns. Next, your attorney will speak to the Assistant District Attorney assigned to your case to determine her position. You will be required to waive your preliminary hearing. The District Attorney’s office will make a determination before the arraignment is held. If approved, you will be enrolled into the ARD program before your next court date.

Ignition Interlock Device (IID)

An Ignition Interlock Device (IID) is required after an individual is convicted of a 2nd or subsequent DUI offense. When you are eligible for an IID Department of Transportation (PennDOT) will mail you a Restoration Requirements Letter. This will provide all the information on how to apply for an IID including the application. IID cost about $1,300 per year to install, maintain and monitor. This is in addition to all other fees associated with driving with an IID.

For more information on IIDs please see the Ignition Interlock Fact Sheet provided by PennDOT.

Contact Our Pennsylvania DUI Defense Attorneys

Do not go through the Pennsylvania legal system alone. DUI charges are incredibly serious and a conviction can bring your life, career and financial stability to a screeching halt. Click here to email our Philadelphia, PA DUI defense attorneys.

Who Our Pittsburgh Pennsylvania DUI Attorneys Represent

Our Pennsylvania DUI attorneys serve those facing criminal and drug charges throughout Pennsylvania including all PA counties: Adams County, Allegheny County, ArmstrongCounty, BeaverCounty, Bedford County, Berks County, Blair County, Bradford County, Bucks County, Butler County, Cambria County, Cameron County, Carbon County, Centre County, Chester County, Clarion County, Clearfield County, Clinton County, Columbia County, Crawford County, Cumberland County, Dauphin County, Delaware County, Elk County, Erie County, Fayette County, Forest County, Franklin County, Fulton County, Greene County, Huntingdon County, Indiana County, Jefferson County, Juniata County, Lackawanna County, Lancaster County, Lawrence County, Lebanon County, Lehigh County, Luzerne County, Lycoming County, McKean County, Mercer County, Mifflin County, Monroe County, Montgomery County, Montour County, Northampton County, Northumberland County, Perry County, Philadelphia County, Pike County, Potter County, Schuylkill County, Snyder County, Somerset County, Sullivan County, Susquehanna County, Tioga County, Union County, Venango County, Warren County, Washington County, Wayne County, Westmoreland County, Wyoming County & York County, Pennsylvania.

Within these counties they serve all cities, suburbs, towns and rural areas including  Abington, Allentown, Altoona, Baldwin, Bensalem Township, Bethel Park, Bethlehem, Bloomsburg, Blue Bell, Bristol, Butler, Carlisle, Chambersburg, Cheltenham, Chester, Coatesville, Darby, Denver, Doylestown, Easton, Ephrata, Erie, Harrisburg, Hazleton, Hermitage, Kennett Square, King of Prussia, Lancaster, Lansdale, Lansdowne, Lebanon, Lititz, Lock Haven, Lower Merion Township, Manheim, McKeesport, Media, Monroeville, New Castle, New Hope, Norristown, Paoli, Philadelphia, Phoenixville, Pittsburgh, Plymouth Meeting, Plum, Pottstown, Pottsville, Reading, Scranton, South Philadelphia, Springfield, State College, Stroudsburg, Upper Darby, West Chester, Wilkes-Barre, Wilkinsburg, Williamsport and York, Pennsylvania.