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What are the consequences of a first DUI in Pennsylvania?

Nearly everyone knows that there are laws against drunk driving in Philadelphia, as well as throughout Pennsylvania. These laws are not only meant to protect others from those who are drinking and driving, but to get help for people who may have an alcohol problem. The laws regarding drunk driving are not as severe in Pennsylvania as they are in many other states, but the potential consequences you may face can still be costly.

This is true even if you have been arrested on first-time DUI charges. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s website, if you are arrested for an undetermined blood alcohol content level or a BAC under .099 percent, you may face the following charges:

  • A fine of $300
  • Probation time of up to six months
  • Alcohol safety school or treatment program

If you had more alcohol in your system at the time of your first DUI arrest, the penalties go up. For example, for high BAC charges you can end up with a fine of $1,000 to $5,000, up to six months in prison and the loss of your driver’s license for 12 months. For any drunk driving arrest, you will need to attend an alcohol highway safety education program and you may be ordered to undergo treatment.

The criminal and monetary fines you face after a drunk driving arrest are only a small portion of your overall consequences. With a DUI on your record, you might have trouble finding or keeping a job or furthering your education. Additionally, you will have the embarrassing social stigma of having a criminal record.

Fortunately, Pennsylvania’s drunk driving laws focus more on treatment and education than strict punishment, which can give you the chance to turn your life around after first-time DUI charges. This information is not intended as legal advice.

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Gregory R. Gifford
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