Important Information About Pennsylvania Drunk Driving Laws

drunk driving Pittsburgh, PA

Even though Pennsylvania has always viewed drunk driving harshly, new legislation signed into law last year in October 2018 increases some of the penalties for drunk driving offenses. These changes include the creation of a new felony category for certain DUI offenses. 

The Previous Punishments for a First DUI Offense

The consequences of drunk driving mostly depend on the factual circumstances of the situation.  For example, factors such as whether anybody was injured, the blood alcohol content, whether a minor was riding in the car, etc. are very important when determining the possible punishment for the driver.  However, the possible punishments still range from the relatively handleable to the more serious penalties of possible incarceration.

A first DUI conviction where the driver was drunk driving with a blood alcohol content between .08 and 1% will likely be classified as a misdemeanor. A convicted driver can possibly face a monetary fine of $300, probation lasting six-months, and a jail sentence with a likely maximum of six months.  The courts will likely also require an alcohol safety class and participation in substance abuse treatment.

Drunk driving involving injuries, death, or property damage and DUIs for drivers with a BAC of at least .1% but less than .16% would likely still result in a misdemeanor charge, with a convicted driver possibly facing a jail time between 48 hours and six months, a monetary fine ranging from $500 to $5,000, and a 12-month license suspension. Again, the courts will likely require an alcohol safety class and participation in a substance abuse treatment

If drunk driving with a passenger under the age of 18 will likely result in a first-degree misdemeanor, with a convicted driver facing up to 5 years in jail, a monetary fine of $1000 or more, 100 hours of community service, and an 18-month license suspension.

Updated Rules

Pennsylvania’s new rules are geared mostly toward repeat offenders, given the rates of continued drunk driving on Pennsylvania’s roads.

Under Pennsylvania’s old laws, a DUI was mostly classified as a misdemeanor.  Now, a person convicted for the third time of a DUI will be charged with a felony if their blood alcohol content is .16% and above.  Regardless of the BAC, a fourth DUI is automatically a felony.

In addition, Pennsylvania will be much harsher in penalizing drunk driving if the driver kills another person, even more so if they have previous drunk driving convictions.  Under the new laws, if convicted of killing another person while drunk driving with a previous incident, the driver faces a minimum of five years in prison.  For a driver with two previous incidents, the driver faces a minimum of seven years in prison.

Finally, for the drivers who have had their licenses suspended due to previous incidents, it is difficult to get around some parts of Pennsylvania without a car.  However, the suspension of a license is intended to deter people from drunk driving.  Unfortunately for such drivers, the new laws also impose increased penalties for driving if the license has been suspended.

Call Today

Call (412) 804-4048 to schedule a consultation with Kim A. Bodnar, Attorney at Law in our Pittsburgh office.

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

Check out what others are saying about our services on Yelp: Read our Yelp reviews.

Recent Posts

September 10, 2020

Hiring an Estate Planning Attorney to Manage Your Assets After Death

Death is an unavoidable aspect of the human experience. Fortunately, you can prepare for it by hiring an estate planning attorney. An attorney can help ensure that everything is in order and that your beneficiaries …

September 4, 2020

When Do You Need a Personal Injury Lawyer?

If you have suffered injuries because of someone else’s negligence, you must decide if you will hire a personal injury attorney. Though you can choose to represent yourself in court, it is not always the …

August 15, 2020

The Role of an Elder Law Attorney

When it comes to aging or caring for older loved ones, an understanding of elder law is critical to make sound decisions for the future. Many situations are relatively complex and should be addressed before …

August 5, 2020

When to Hire a Car Accident Attorney

After a car accident, you will probably be wondering how to best recover from your damages. It is often beneficial to hire an attorney to represent you, especially if you meet certain criteria. In this …

Posted on: March 9, 2020 by Kim Bodnar