Pennsylvania Attorney: Consquences of a DUI Charge




If arrested for a DUI, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania can impose severe penalties including suspending the driver’s license, fines, and possible jail time depending on factors including the driver’s blood alcohol content and whether this was the first or repeat offense.

General impairment

A general impairment charge is when a driver is incapable of driving safely. This lowest level DUI offense is when the blood alcohol content appears within the range of .08 to .099 percent. 

For a first-time offense, the penalty will usually consist of some combination of the following:

  • Misdemeanor conviction
  • Six months mandatory minimum probation
  • $300 fine
  • Attend the Alcohol Highway Safety School
  • Mandatory Treatment

For a second-time offense, the penalty will usually consist of some combination of the following:

  • Misdemeanor conviction 
  • Imprisonment lasting between five days and no more than six months 
  • A fine between $300 to $2,500 
  • Suspension of a driver’s license for 12-months
  • Attendance at the Alcohol Highway Safety School 
  • Mandatory one-year Ignition Interlock 
  • Mandatory drug and alcohol assessment and compliance with drug and alcohol treatment

For a third-time offense, the penalty will usually consist of some combination of the following:

  • Misdemeanor Two conviction 
  • Imprisonment lasting a minimum of 10 days 
  • A fine between $500 and $5,000
  • Attendance at the Alcohol Highway Safety School 
  • Mandatory one-year Ignition Interlock 
  • Mandatory drug and alcohol assessment and compliance with drug and alcohol treatment

High rate

This mid-level tier offense is imposed for drivers with a blood alcohol content between .10 and .159 percent, minors driving under the influence, drivers of commercial or school vehicles, and drivers incapable of driving safely or causing an accident or injury.

For a first-time offense, the penalty will usually consist of some combination of the following:

  • Misdemeanor conviction 
  • Imprisonment lasting between 48 hours and no more than six months 
  • A fine between $500 and $5,000
  • Suspension of a driver’s license for 12-months
  • Attendance at the Alcohol Highway Safety School 
  • Mandatory drug and alcohol assessment and compliance with drug and alcohol treatment

For a second-time offense, the penalty will usually consist of some combination of the following:

  • Misdemeanor conviction 
  • Imprisonment lasting between 30 days and 6 months 
  • A fine between $750 and $5,000 
  • Suspension of a driver’s license for 12-months
  • Attendance at the Alcohol Highway Safety School 
  • Mandatory one-year Ignition Interlock 
  • Mandatory drug and alcohol assessment and compliance with drug and alcohol treatment

For a third-time offense, the penalty will usually consist of some combination of the following: 

  • Misdemeanor 1 conviction
  • Imprisonment lasting a minimum of 90 days 
  • A fine between $1,500 and $10,000 
  • Suspension of a driver’s license for 18 months 
  • Mandatory one-year Ignition Interlock 
  • Mandatory drug and alcohol assessment and compliance with drug and alcohol treatment 

Highest rate

This highest tier offense is imposed for drivers with a blood alcohol content level above .16 percent, drivers under the influence of illegal or prescription drugs, and drivers incapable of safe driving after refusing testing.  

For a first-time offense, the penalty will usually consist of a combination of the following:

  • Misdemeanor conviction
  • Imprisonment lasting between 72 hours and 6 months
  • A fine between $1,000 and $5,000
  • Suspension of a driver’s license for 12-months
  • Attendance at the Alcohol Highway Safety School
  • Mandatory treatment
  • Mandatory drug and alcohol assessment and compliance with drug and alcohol treatment 

For a second-time offense, the penalty will usually consist of a combination of the following: 

  • Misdemeanor 1 conviction
  • Imprisonment lasting a minimum of 90 days 
  • A fine of $1,500
  • Suspension of a driver’s license for 18 months 
  • Attendance at the Alcohol Highway Safety School 
  • Mandatory one-year Ignition Interlock 
  • Mandatory drug and alcohol assessment and compliance with drug and alcohol treatment 

For a third-time offense, the penalty will usually consist of a combination of the following: 

  • Misdemeanor 1 conviction
  • Imprisonment of one year
  • Suspension of a driver’s license for 18 months 
  • Mandatory one-year Ignition Interlock 
  • Mandatory drug and alcohol assessment and compliance with drug and alcohol treatment 

Ultimately, Pennsylvania’s tiered system imposes greater punishments for those repeat offenses and those convicted of driving under the influence that presents a greater risk to other Pennsylvanians.  

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

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Posted on: September 18, 2019 by Kim Bodnar