Pennsylvania DUI Penalties

DUI
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We all make bad decisions sometimes. We're only human. And bad decisions often come with some pretty serious consequences. Another fact about bad decisions is that they are always the result of either ignorance or a short-term lapse in thinking. There may not be much you can do about the lapses, but there is plenty that can be done about ignorance. One of the worst decisions anyone can make is to drink and drive.

Here's where knowledge can help, however. The more you understand about the consequences of drunk driving, the better the chances are that you will choose not to do it. So, if you are in Pennsylvania and tempted to get behind the wheel after a bit too much to drink, here's some knowledge about Pennsylvania DUI penalties that may stop you from making that bad decision.

Pennsylvania employs an extensive three-tier system of BAC impairment levels and coinciding penalties. Licensing requirements and penalties for DUI are determined through the consideration of a combination of factors including BAC level and prior offenses. Here's the rundown:

Tier 1: General Impairment (.08 to .99% BAC or incapable of safe driving and no injury or damage).

 

  • No Prior Offenses: Ungraded misdemeanor; no license suspension; up to six months probation; $300 fine; alcohol highway safety school (AHSS); alcohol treatment when ordered; drug and alcohol assessment if indicated by Court Reporting Network (CRN).

     

    • Second Offense within 10 Years of Prior Offense: Ungraded misdemeanor; one year license suspension; five days to six months incarceration with eligibility for house arrest and work release; $300 to $2500 fine; AHSS; CRN evaluation and treatment when ordered by the court; ignition interlock for one year.

       

      • Third or Subsequent Offense within 10 Years of Prior Offense: Second degree misdemeanor; one year license suspension; ten days to two years incarceration with eligibility for house arrest and work release; $500 to $5,000 fine; CRN evaluation and treatment when ordered by the court; one year ignition interlock.

       

      Tier 2: High BAC (.10 to .159% BAC; .02% minors; .04% commercial drivers license holders and school bus/vehicle drivers).

       

      • No Prior Offenses: Ungraded misdemeanor; one year license suspension; 48 hours to six months incarceration with eligibility for house arrest and work release; $500 to $5,000 fine; AHSS; CRN evaluation and treatment when ordered by the court.

       

      • Second Offense within 10 Years of Prior Offense: Ungraded misdemeanor; one year license suspension; 30 days to six months incarceration with eligibility for house arrest and work release (no house arrest on fourth or subsequent offense); $750 to $5,000 fine; AHSS; CRN evaluation and treatment when ordered by the court; one year ignition interlock.

       

      • Third or Subsequent Offense within 10 Years of Prior Offense: First degree misdemeanor; 18 month license suspension; 90 days to five years incarceration with eligibility for house arrest and work release (no house arrest on fourth or subsequent offense); $1,500 to $10,000 fine; AHSS; CRN evaluation and treatment when ordered by the court; one year ignition interlock.

         

        Tier 3: Highest BAC (.16% or above BAC; Minimum levels of a controlled substance in blood; Drivers refusing chemical test).

         

        • No Prior Offenses: Ungraded misdemeanor; one year license suspension; 72 hours to 6 months incarceration with eligibility for house arrest and work release; $1,000 to $5,000 fine; AHSS; CRN evaluation and treatment when ordered by the court.

         

        • Second Offense within 10 Years of Prior Offense: Ungraded misdemeanor; 18 months license suspension; 90 days to five years incarceration with eligibility for house arrest and work release; $1,500 to $10,000 fine; AHSS; CRN evaluation with treatment when ordered by the court; one year ignition interlock.

         

        • Third or Subsequent Offense within 10 Years of Prior Offense: First degree misdemeanor; 18 month license suspension; one to five years in prison with eligibility for house arrest and work release (no house arrest for fourth or subsequent offense); AHSS; CRN evaluation with treatment when ordered by the court; one year ignition interlock.

           

          Additional Penalties.

           

          • All offenses on all tier levels include up to 150 hours of community service.

           

          • Implied Consent Law: By accepting a license to drive in Pennsylvania, a driver agrees to chemical testing for alcohol or drugs when requested by a law enforcement officer. This is known as the implied consent law. If a driver refuses to submit to such a test, his or her license will be suspended for one year regardless of whether he or she is eventually convicted of DUI. A driver who refuses to submit to a chemical test who has previously refused a chemical test or been convicted of a DUI will have his or her license suspended for 18 months. These suspensions are in addition to any others imposed as part of a DUI conviction.

           

          Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition

          Drivers arrested on a DUI first offense may be eligible for the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) program. ARD aims to help first-offenders avoid the full wrath of the criminal justice system. Drivers must meet several criteria to be accepted into the program and must follow a strict set of conditions. Upon successful completion of the ARD program, a participant's charges are dismissed and his or her record cleared.