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Pennsylvania Law FAQs: Penalties to First-Time DUI Offenders

Dec. 19, 2019

Each state has its own set of penalties for DUI offenses. In Pennsylvania, the penalties are far less severe for first-time offenders. Penalties are assessed based on the amount of alcohol in the offender’s system. Find out what to expect if you get arrested for driving under the influence in Pennsylvania.

Penalties for The Three DUI Levels in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania has three categories for DUI offenses. General impairment refers to offenders who have a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of 0.8-0.99%. High BAC offenders have a BAC of 0.10-0.159%. The highest BAC offenders have BAC levels of 0.16% or higher. Penalties are assessed based on the DUI category.

General Impairment Penalties for First-Time Offenders

A general impairment DUI is an ungraded misdemeanor, meaning the judge has some leeway when sentencing offenders. Those who are found guilty will serve up to six months of probation and pay a $300 fine. They also must attend an alcohol highway safety school. The judge can order treatment as well.

High BAC Penalties for First-Time Offenders

High BAC DUIs are also ungraded misdemeanors. The judge will suspend the guilty party’s license for 12 months and order the defendant to attend an alcohol highway safety school. Also, the judge can impose a fine of $500-$5,000 and send the defendant to prison for 48 hours to six months. In some cases, the judge also sends the defendant to an alcohol treatment center for additional help.

Highest BAC Penalties for First-Time Offenders

This ungraded misdemeanor is the most serious of the DUI categories. First-time offenders can expect their licenses to be suspended for 12 months and to pay a $1,000-$5,000 fine. Defendants might get sent to prison for 72 hours to 6 months. While each offender must attend an alcohol highway safety school, the judge can also order treatment.

Exceptions to Standard DUI Penalties

Penalties are not always assessed based on the BAC. The court can assess high BAC penalties for commercial drivers, school bus drivers, and minors, even when the BAC is less than 0.10%. Also, offenders who cause property damage or injure someone can be assessed higher penalties. Finally, those who refuse to take breathalyzer tests can receive the Highest BAC penalties when prosecuted for driving under the influence.

Occupational Limited Licenses

Offenders who have their licenses suspended after a first offense can apply for an occupational limited license. People can apply after the license has been suspended for 60 days. To apply, applicants must fill out the Occupational Limited Licensee Petition (Form DL-15). The form and fee must be sent to the address listed. PennDOT evaluates the form and makes a determination.

Learn More About DUI Penalties

If you have been charged with a DUI, you are likely afraid. You understand that DUIs are ungraded misdemeanors, giving the judge some power when determining the sentence. Depending on your BAC, you might walk away with a small fine and a stint at traffic school, or you could be facing serious jail time. Talk to our lawyers today to learn more about what you should expect.

Call today to reach Kim A. Bodnar, Attorney at Law.

NOTE: This is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.

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