LEGAL GUIDE
Written by attorney Steven Fisher Fairlie | Jun 27, 2010

Pennsylvania DUI penalties

Pennsylvania DUI Penalties - Go to http://fairlielaw.net/practice-areas/pennsylvania-dui-penalties/ to see this article formatted properly Pennsylvania has taken the position that a person's Blood Alcohol Level (BAC) and the number of times the person has committed a DUI will dictate what punishment they will receive. As of February 2, 2004 there are three categories a person will fall into based on the level of the alcohol in their system. There is a) .08%-.099% b) .10% - .159% c) .16% and higher Included in this category are refusal to submit to a test. All of the categories require a Court Reporting Network (CRN) evaluation; the first and second offenders require Alcohol Highway Safety. (AHSS). BAC .16 or higher and all subsequent offenses require a mandatory Drug and Alcohol (D&A) assessment and treatment. All second and subsequent offense requires the installation of an Ignition Interlock System. FIRST OFFENSE (NO PRIOR PA DUI OFFENSES WITHIN THE LAST 10 YEARS) BAC is .08% to .099%. This is an ungraded misdemeanor with a 6 month maximum probation and a $300.00 fine. Required CRN, AHSS and possible D&A. There is no loss of license and no jail time with this particular category. BAC is .10% to .159%. This is an ungraded misdemeanor with a mandatory 48 hour imprisonment up to a possible 6 months and a $500.00 to $5,000.00 fine. Required CRN, AHSS and possible D&A. The license suspension is 12 months. However there is a possibility to get an Occupational Limited License (OLL) after serving a hard 2 month suspension. BAC is .16% or higher or refusal to give a blood or breath sample. This is ungraded misdemeanor with a mandatory 72 hour imprisonment up to a possible 6 months and a $1,000.00 to $5,000.00 fine. Required CRN, AHSS and mandatory full D&A. The license suspension is 12 months. Also possibility for OLL after serving hard 2 months suspension. SECOND OFFENSE BAC is .08% to .099%. This is an ungraded misdemeanor with a mandatory 5 days imprisonment 6 month maximum jail sentence and a $300.00 to $2,500.00 fine. The license suspension is for 12 months. Required CRN, AHSS, D&A and Ignition Interlock for 12 months. BAC is .10% to .159%. This is ungraded misdemeanor with a mandatory 30 days imprisonment 6 month maximum jail sentence and a $750.00 to $5,000.00 fine. The license suspension is for 12 months. Required CRN, AHSS, D&A and Ignition Interlock for 12 months. BAC is .16% or higher or a refusal. This is graded as a misdemeanor of the First Degree with a mandatory 90 days imprisonment 5 year maximum jail sentence and a $ 1,500.00 to $10,000.00 fine. The license suspension is for 12 months. Required CRN, AHSS, D&A and Ignition Interlock for 12 months. THIRD OFFENSE BAC is .08% to .099%. This is graded as misdemeanor of the Second Degree with a mandatory 10 days imprisonment 2 year maximum jail sentence and a $500.00 to $5,000.00 fine. The license suspension is for 12 months. Required CRN, D&A and Ignition Interlock for 12 months. BAC is .10% to .159%. This is graded as a misdemeanor of the First Degree with a mandatory 90 days imprisonment 5 year maximum jail sentence and a $1,500.00 to $10,000.00 fine. The license suspension is for 18 months. Required CRN, D&A and Ignition Interlock for 12 months. BAC is .16% or higher or a refusal. This is graded as a misdemeanor of the First Degree with a mandatory 1 year imprisonment 5 year maximum jail sentence and a $ 2,500.00 to $10,000.00 fine. The license suspension is for 18 months. Required CRN, D&A and Ignition Interlock for 12 months. FOURTH OFFENSE BAC is .08% to .099%. This is graded as misdemeanor of the Second Degree with a mandatory 10 days imprisonment 2 year maximum jail sentence and a $500.00 to $5,000.00 fine. The license suspension is for 12 months. Required CRN, D&A and Ignition Interlock for 12 months. BAC is .10% to .159%. This is graded as a misdemeanor of the First Degree with a mandatory 1 year imprisonment 5 year maximum jail sentence and a $1,500.00 to $10,000.00 fine. The license suspension is for 18 months. Required CRN, D&A and Ignition Interlock for 12 months. BAC is .16% or higher or a refusal. This is graded as a misdemeanor of the First Degree with a mandatory 1 year imprisonment 5 year maximum jail sentence and a $ 2,500.00 to $10,000.00 fine. The license suspension is for 18 months. Required CRN, D&A and Ignition Interlock for 12 months. Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) Program Accelerated Rehabilitation Disposition, or "ARD", is a pre-trial intervention program that is designed to divert first-time, non-violent offenders from the criminal justice process. Many people who apply for admission into the Accelerated Rehabilitation Disposition (ARD) Program in PA are people who have been charged with Driving Under the Influence / DUI. The Accelerated Rehabilitation Disposition (ARD) Program suspends the criminal justice process while the person is on ARD probation and complies with certain conditions. If a person successfully completes the ARD program, the charges are legally dismissed. To be admitted into the Accelerated Rehabilitation Disposition (ARD) Program, on a DUI or any other charge in PA, a person must be recommended by the District Attorney's Office. A judge may not admit a person into the ARD Program on his or her own. After the DA's Office recommends someone for admission into the ARD Program, a judge decides, at a hearing, whether to accept the recommendation. A person makes application for admission into the ARD Program by submitting an application to the DA's Office prior to any application deadlines. The DA's Office then makes a decision whether to recommend a person for admission into the ARD program. For the most part, this decision cannot be appealed. It is important to note that the Accelerated Rehabilitation Disposition (ARD) Program is a pre-trial program, meaning that a person must apply for admission into the ARD program prior to trial. If a person chooses to exercise his or her right to a trial and is convicted, that person may not then be admitted into the ARD program. Accordingly, it is important to carefully evaluate any potential trial issues in the early stages of the criminal justice process and before the deadline for applying for admission into the ARD Program. Decision to Seek Accelerated Rehabilitation Disposition (ARD) Program on a DUI Charge Attorneys and clients should carefully evaluate whether admission into the Accelerated Rehabilitation Disposition (ARD) Program is truly the best option. Attorneys who automatically assume a client should apply for ARD, without evaluating the strength of the Commonwealth of PA's case, can do their clients a disservice. There are many factors - including the strengths and weaknesses of the Commonwealth's case - that the client and attorney should carefully consider in making this determination. Any decision to apply for admission into the Accelerated Rehabilitation Disposition (ARD) Program should only be made after the attorney has fully evaluated the case and discussed with the client the available options and the consequences of every course of action. If the Commonwealth of PA has a strong case, and the person may qualify for admission into the Accelerated Rehabilitation Disposition (ARD) Program, the person may decide to seek admission into the ARD program. There are certainly many benefits to the ARD Program as opposed to a conviction. These benefits include: No jail time. A person who is accepted into the ARD Program in PA avoids mandatory minimum prison sentences which accompany most DUI convictions. Greatly reduced license suspension. People who are admitted into the ARD Program will have a DUI license suspension that is far less then the one-year PA license suspension that accompanies most DUI convictions. In Montgomery County, PA, people with lawyers may apply for the "ARD Fast Track" Program which can result in a PA license suspension of as little as one or two months. Expungement of criminal charges. People who successfully complete all the terms and conditions of the ARD Program in PA are eligible to have all records of the arrest and ARD disposition expunged (destroyed) from PA government agency files and databanks. By statute, PA county district attorneys offices are permitted to have their own unique criteria and conditions for admission into an ARD Program. It is important to understand that cases that may qualify for ARD in one county might not for another. It is important to note that when a person is charged with DUI following an accident with injuries or property damage, he or she may not be entitled to admission into the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) Program. In such cases it is critically important to retain an experienced criminal defense attorney. Expungement of DUI / ARD Dispositions People who successfully complete the ARD Program in PA may petition the court to have their criminal record expunged. Criminal records should be expunged, if possible, so that employee background checks do not uncover records of the arrest and ARD disposition. To do this one must obtain a court order providing that all records connected with the charge be expunged and destroyed. This order should direct all recipients to produce an affidavit assuring that all documents relating to the arrest -- including mug shots and fingerprint records -- have been destroyed. Some people retain lawyers for expungement services who obtain a court order of expungement but do not aggressively follow up with every PA or federal agency possessing records of the arrest. This defeats the purpose of seeking an expungement. A person petitioning for expungement is seeking a clean criminal record so that a background check does not uncover an arrest. Obviously, a signed court order mandating that PA or federal agencies destroy criminal records is worthless if the agencies do not actually comply with the order. If the expungement attorney has not followed through to make sure people comply with the court order, the background check may uncover the old arrest. This is why it is important to retain an attorney who will put forth the time and effort to make absolutely certain your record is legally and physically expunged. THREE TIER DUI SYSTEM Pennsylvania has a 3-tiered system for dealing with DUIs. The tiers are distinguished by blood alcohol content (BAC), as follows: BAC of .08% to .099% BAC of .10% to .159% BAC of .16% and above The higher the blood alcohol, the greater the punishment. There are also different penalties for first, second, third offense, and subsequent DUIs. All first offense DUI charges in Pennsylvania are considered ungraded misdemeanors. PA DUI with BAC between .08% and .099% DUI Offense BAC .08-.099% Penalty 1st Offense Probation no longer than 6 months; $300 fine; Attend Alcohol Highway Safety School; and Comply with the Drug and Alcohol treatment requirements 2nd Offense Mandatory 5 days in jail, but may be up to 60 days; Fine between $300 and $2,500; Attend Alcohol Highway Safety School; Loss of License for 1 year; Ignition Interlock system in car for 1 year; Full Drug and Alcohol assessment 3rd Offense Mandatory 10 days in jail, but may be up to 2 years; Fine between $500 and $5,000; Loss of License for 1 year; Ignition Interlock system in car for 1 year; Full Drug and Alcohol assessment PA DUI w/BAC between .10% and .159% or Injury If your DUI charge includes: a BAC between .10% and .159%, or involved in an accident resulting in bodily injury, serious bodily injury or death of any person or in damage to a vehicle or other property are as follows: DUI Offense Penalty BAC .1 - .159% 1st Offense Mandatory 48 hours in jail, but may be up to 6 months; Fine between $500 and $5,000; Attend Alcohol Highway Safety School; Loss of License for 1 year; Full Drug and Alcohol assessment 2nd Offense Mandatory 30 days in jail, but may be up to 6 months; Fine between $750 and $5,000; Attend Alcohol Highway Safety School; Loss of License for 1 year; Ignition Interlock system in car for 1 year; Full Drug and Alcohol assessment 3rd Offense Mandatory 90 days in jail, but may be up to 5 years; Fine between $1,500 and $10,000; Loss of License for 18 months; Ignition Interlock system in car for 1 year; Full Drug and Alcohol assessment 4th Offense Mandatory 1 year in jail, but may be up to 5 years; Fine between $1,500 and $10,000; Loss of License for 18 months; Ignition Interlock system in car for 1 year; Full Drug and Alcohol assessment PA BUI with BAC of .16% or Over as follows: Offense Penalty over .159% BAC 1st Offense Mandatory 72 hours in jail, but may be up to 6 months; Fine between $1,000 and $5,000; Attend Alcohol Highway Safety School; Loss of License for 1 year; Full Drug and Alcohol assessment 2nd Offense Mandatory 90 days in jail, but may be up to 5 years; Fine between $1,500 and $10,000; Attend Alcohol Highway Safety School; Loss of License for 18 months; Ignition Interlock system in car for 1 year; Full Drug and Alcohol assessment 3rd Offense Mandatory 1 year in jail, but may be up to 5 years; Fine $2,500 to $10,000 Loss of License for 18 months; Ignition Interlock system in car for 1 year; Full Drug and Alcohol assessment Under Pennsylvania law, prior DUI offenses, for purposes of determining whether the person is a multiple offender, are calculated as occurring within the previous 10-year period.

Additional resources provided by the author

There is other information pertaining to Pennsylvania DUI located on various pages of the Fairlie & LIppy website: http://fairlielaw.net

Rate this guide


Can’t find what you’re looking for?


Post a free question on our public forum.

Ask a Question

- or -

Search for lawyers by reviews and ratings.

Find a Lawyer