Drunk Driving (DUI) in Pennsylvania – What you need to know about blood alcohol content, license suspension, jail, and occupational limited licenses
Pennsylvania, like New Jersey, has very strict laws regarding drunk driving (DUI-Driving Under the Influence). The holiday season is one of the most heavily trafficked times of the year and so drunk driving is often one of the more common offenses. In Pennsylvania, like all states, the legal limit is .08. This means that a person is legally drunk if their BAC is .08 or higher.
Pennsylvania, like New Jersey, maintains a tiered drunk driving penalty system which increases the severity of the offense based on a person’s BAC level and a person’s prior history of driving drunk. Pennsylvania uses a combination of a person’s blood alcohol content (concentration) (BAC), prior offenses and determines possible license suspensions and penalties from there. Drunk driving is a criminal offense in Pennsylvania whereas it is considered a traffic offense in New Jersey (non indictable) unless it results in a serious injury or death to another person.
General Impairment (undetermined BAC, .08 – .099 BAC)
A person who is considered generally impaired in Pennsylvania with no prior criminal DUI offenses faces up to six (6) months of probation, a $300 fine, mandatory alcohol highway safety school, but no driver’s license suspension. There is however a license suspension where there is a vehicle accident as a result of the DUI. (Title 75, Section 3802)
A person with one prior DUI offense faces a mandatory minimum of twelve (12) month license suspension, five (5) days to six (6) months in jail, a $300 fine, alcohol highway safety school and one (1) year of ignition interlock (second offense).
Finally, a person with two (2) prior DUI offenses faces a twelve (12) month license suspension, a mandatory minimum of ten (10) days to two (2) years in prison, a twelve (12) month license suspension, a $500 to $5,000 fine and ignition interlock for one (1) year. All of these penalties are for general impairment.
High BAC penalties (.10 to .159) (Title 75, Section 3802(b))
A person who has no prior Pennsylvania drunk driving (DUI) history faces a twelve (12) month license suspension, forty-eight (48) to six (6) months in prison, $500 to $5,000 fine and alcohol highway safety school.
A person with one (1) prior DUI offense who maintains this BAC level at the time of their arrest faces a twelve (12) month license suspension, thirty (30) days to six (6) months in prison, $750 to $5,000 fine, alcohol highway safety school and one (1) year ignition interlock.
A person with two (2) or more prior DUI offenses faces eighteen (18) months of license suspension, ninety (90) days to five (5) years in jail, $1,500 to $10,000 fine and one (1) year of ignition interlock.
Highest BAC (.016 and higher) or controlled substance (illegal drugs or narcotics) (Title 75, Section 3802 (c)) and 3802(d)
A person with no prior DUI’s faces a twelve (12) month license suspension, mandatory seventy-two (72) hours to six (6) months in jail, $1,000 to $5,000 fine and alcohol highway safety school. These penalties are the same if you are convicted of drugged DUI in Pennsylvania (Title 75, Section 3802 (d)).
A person with one (1) prior DUI and a BAC of this level or has controlled substances in their system at the time of their arrest faces an eighteen (18) month license suspension, ninety (90) days to five (5) years in jail, a $1,500 to $10,000 fine and a one (1) year ignition interlock.
Accelerated Rehabilitation Disposition (ARD)
In most situations, a person with no prior DUI history is eligible for the Accelerated Rehabilitation Disposition program. This program allows a person to avoid any criminal conviction and, in many cases, avoid any type of licenses suspension in some cases. The license suspension for this program are as follows.
- Less than .10 BAC – no suspension
- .10 to less than .16 – thirty (30) day suspension
- .16 and above – sixty (60) day license suspension
Occupational Limited License (OLL)
First time DUI offenders may be eligible for an OLL after serving sixty (60) days of their license suspension. Individuals whose licenses are suspended for eighteen (18) months (for DUI or refusing breath or chemical test) and have no more than one (1) prior offense may be illegible for an OLL with an ignition interlock after serving twelve (12) months of their suspension.
Our criminal defense law firm wish you and your family a happy and safe holiday season!
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