If you’ve been stopped, arrested or charged for drunk driving in Pennsylvania, you’ll soon discover that the sanctions you face will depend on a number of factors, including prior convictions. In addition, Pennsylvania recognizes different tiers, based on the results of a blood alcohol test.
The Pennsylvania DUI Penalty Tiers
As part of an effort to crack down on drinking and driving in Pennsylvania, the state legislature passed a new law in 2003, lowering the blood alcohol content level that constitutes impaired driving, from 10% to 8%. That legislation also laid out different tiers, with corresponding penalties:
- General impairment — If your blood alcohol content is less than .10 (10%), you will be considered generally impaired. This charge can result in up to six months probation, as well as a $300 fine, and you will be required to attend an alcohol safety school, if it’s your first conviction.
- High rate of alcohol — If you blow anywhere from a .10 to a .159, you can be charged with having a “high rate of alcohol.” If you are under the age of 21, you can face the same charge if your BAC is .02 (2%) or higher. The level is also lower for commercial vehicle operators and people who cause personal or property damage while driving under the influence. This level involves a mandatory jail sentence of at least 48 hours and a 12 months suspension of driving privileges, even if it’s your first offense.
- Highest rate of alcohol — If your BAC is .16 or above, you face a mandatory 3 day jail term and will lose your license for a year, even on a first offense. If you refuse to submit to a blood test, you will be charged with having the highest rate of alcohol.
Contact Our Office
At Barnard, Mezzanotte, Pinnie & Seelaus, we have provided thorough and effective legal counsel to clients throughout Delaware County in Pennsylvania since 1980. We offer a free initial consultation. To schedule an appointment, call us at 610-565-4055 or contact us online