DUI Laws in Pennsylvania

Driving Under the Influence (DUI) of Alcohol or Drugs is obviously against the law.  Violation of this law carries with it jail time, fines, and a loss of license.  The major determination in the penalty is your Blood Alcohol rate or whether drugs are involved and whether you are a first time or multiple offender.

dui laws in pa

  • FIRST TIME OFFENDER (no criminal record):  If you are arrested for DUI you may be eligible for a first time offender program (ARD).  You are eligible if you have no criminal record (of any type of crime) and there was no minor under the age of 14 in the car at the time of your arrest.  The program involves no jail time, one year probation (or less), court costs (no fine), and loss of license up to 60 days (as opposed to a year for a conviction).
  • FIRST TIME OFFENDER (criminal record):  If you are convicted of DUI and have a prior criminal record (non-DUI) your penalty will depend on your Blood Alcohol Content (BAC).  If it is from .08 to .099 you are liable to a 6 month jail term (but eligible for probation), a $300 fine along with a Drug Evaluation, classes, and possibly community service and no loss of license.  If your BAC is .10 to .159 you will serve at least 48 hour in jail, pay a $500 to $1500 fine and lose your license for one year.  Classes and community service will usually be included.  Finally, if your BAC is .16 or higher or you have drugs in your system you will serve at least 72 hours in jail, pay a fine of $1000 to $5000 fine and lose your license for one year.  Classes and evaluations will be included. It should be noted that any conviction will include driving classes and evaluations.
  • SECOND TIME OFFENDER:  If you have a DUI conviction within 10 years of the current arrest the penalties will be enhanced.  If your BAC is .08 to .99 you will serve at least 5 days in jail, pay a fine of $300 to $2500, lose your license for one year, and, when you get your license reinstated your car must have the ignition interlock system attached to it.  If your BAC is .10 to .159 you will serve at least 30 days in jail, pay a fine of $750 to $5000 and lose your license for one year along with the mandatory interlock system.  If you BAC is .16 or higher or you have drugs in your system you must serve 90 days in jail, pay a fine of $1500 and lose your license for at least 18 months.
  • THIRD TIME OFFENDER:  If you have two prior DUI convictions within 10 years of your current arrest and are convicted you will serve 10 days in jail, pay a $500 to $5000 fine and lose your license for one year with mandatory ignition interlock if your BAC is .08 to .099.  If your BAC is .10 to .159 you will serve at least 90 days in jail, pay a fine of $1500 to $10,000 and lose your license for 18 months with the mandatory ignition interlock.  A BAC of .16 or higher or you have drugs in your system brings a jail term of at least 1 year with a $2500 minimum fine and a loss of license of 18 months with the mandatory ignition interlock system.
  • FOURTH TIME OFFENDER:  If you have three prior convictions then your BAC is irrelevant on your current case.  A 4th time conviction will bring 1 year in jail, a fine of $1500 to $10,000 and loss of license for 18 months with the mandatory ignition interlock system.
  • NO BAC DUE TO REFUSAL TO TEST:  If you refuse to take the test to determine your BAC and you are convicted of DUI based on other evidence, such as the officer’s opinion of your ability to drive, you will be treated as if your BAC was .16 or higher or you had drugs in your system.

DRUGS (CONTROLLED SUBSTANCES):  If a person is tested and has evidence of a controlled substance in  his/her system you are subject to conviction of DUI.  The amount of the substance in your system is irrelevant even if you can show that the controlled substance had been in your system for a period of time so that it had no effect on you.

JAIL TIME:  In some circumstances the amount of jail time you receive can be served, at least in part, under house arrest or on weekends (or both).  If the judge allows house arrest you will have an electronic monitor attached to your ankle which means you cannot leave your house except for approved reasons such as work or medical appointments.  Your probation officer must approve if you wish to leave your home.  Further you must have a land line telephone without caller ID or call waiting or other extras.  If you are given weekends in jail you will be tested for drugs and alcohol every time.  If you fail the test you may lose your “just weekend” privileges.

If you are arrested for a DUI offense it is imperative that you contact a lawyer immediately so he/she can better prepare your defense.  The possible penalties can be very harsh. You may be able to win your case because the officer did not have probably cause to stop and/or test you or there was a flaw in the testing. My office is here to help you. We have offices in Media, PA and Chester, PA with DUI criminal defense lawyers ready to assist you.

Click here to download a free synopsis of DUI penalties. Dworkin Law – DUI Penalties Summary

 The information presented is not legal advice, and your use of it does not create an attorney-client relationship. No recipient should act on the basis of any content included in the site without seeking the appropriate legal advice from counsel. Lawrence R. Dworkin, Esq. expressly disclaims all liability in respect to actions taken based on any content of this site. Because every case is different, any prior results described on this web site do not guarantee or suggest a similar outcome.

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