What Are The DUI Penalties In Pennsylvania?

Individuals charged with DUI in Pennsylvania face an uphill battle. The penalties, if convicted for drunk driving, are significant. It is important for anyone charged with DUI to talk to a criminal defense lawyer who can work to seek the best possible resolution of the case.

I am attorney Theodore H. Swan Jr., a skilled trial lawyer with more than 40 years of experience handling DUI cases in Bucks and Montgomery counties. I can explain your legal options and help you seek a reduction of charges, reduced penalties or a dismissal of your case. I can also help you determine if you are a candidate for the first offender's Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition program.

Do not plead guilty without first contacting me. You can call my Abington office at (215) 884-6743.

DUI Penalties In Pennsylvania Can Vary By The Alcohol Level In Your Blood

In Pennsylvania, the penalties for a DUI conviction vary depending on an individual's blood alcohol content (BAC) level. Individuals with the lowest blood alcohol content level that is still above the legal limit face lesser punishment than those with a higher BAC level. Below is a short explanation of possible penalties. Please read this detailed chart for full information.

  • General impairment (BAC of .08 percent to .099 percent): A first offense results in up to six months probation and a $300 fine. Second and subsequent offenses result in a one-year driver's license suspension, increasing jail time and increasing fines.
  • High rate of alcohol (BAC of .10 percent to .159 percent): A first offense carries a one-year license suspension, up to six months in jail, and a fine of between $500 and $5,000. Suspensions, jail time and fines increase for repeat offenders.
  • Highest rate of alcohol (BAC of .16 percent and higher): The fine for a first offense is between $1,000 and $5,000. Six months in jail is possible, and one-year license suspension is mandatory. For repeat offenses, the license suspension is 18 months and the possible jail term is up to five years.

Additional penalties may include mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device, house arrest, enrollment in alcohol highway safety school, alcohol treatment and more. DUI penalties may also vary if the alleged drunk driver caused an accident, was a minor, was driving a commercial or school vehicle, or if other special conditions apply.

Refusing A Breath Or Chemical Test

Refusing to take a breath or chemical test during a DUI traffic stop can be a big mistake. If a person fails to submit to or refuses a chemical test or breath test, their license will be suspended for a period of one year, even if the DUI charges are dismissed or the person is found "not guilty." In some counties, refusal may exclude a person from getting ARD. The license suspension for refusal is in addition to any suspension for a conviction or ARD for a DUI.

If the police have claimed that you "refused" to submit to a chemical or breath test and have sent the documents to PennDot, you will receive a Notice of Suspension. This can be appealed within 30 days of the notice. The appeal will postpone the suspension until it is heard in court.

Did you know? Driving under the influence (DUI) charges don't solely apply to alcohol-related impairment. Someone who is driving while under the influence of drugs like marijuana, heroin and OxyContin, or even prescription drugs, may also face DUI charges.

Contact A DWI Defense Attorney

I will examine each and every legal option in your case, from challenging probable cause to challenging the results of a breath test. Call me, Theodore H. Swan, at 267-415-6130 or contact me online to arrange for a free consultation in Abington.