A Look at Pennsylvania’s Drunk Driving Penalties

Anyone in Pennsylvania who drives is aware that the state takes a strong stance against drunk driving. Being arrested for impaired driving can happen to most anyone. Even having a couple of casual drinks with co-workers at the end of a work week can be enough to make a driver’s blood alcohol level surpass the legal limit. For this reason, it is important for all people in Pennsylvania to understand what potential consequences can be faced if convicted of even DUI or DWI offenses.

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation indicates that DUI charges are categorized based upon a driver’s blood alcohol content. There are three BAC groupings referred to as general impairment, high BAC and highest BAC. Some drivers with BAC levels in the general category can face more severe charges depending upon circumstances. These may include the addition of injuries or property damage along with the drunk driving arrest. All are handled as a misdemeanor.

People with blood alcohol levels between 0.08 and 0.99 percent can be subject to different penalties for a first, second or subsequent offense. The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board notes these as follows:

  • For a first DUI offense, courts can order a six-month probation period and require a driver to pay a $300 fine.
  • For a DWI second offense, a jail sentence up to six month can be ordered.
  • Fines can be as high as $2,500 and drivers can face a 12-month license suspension followed by the required use of an ignition interlock device for one year.
  • Fines for a third DWI offense extend up to $5,000 and jail time can be as long as two years.

Understanding these penalties makes it easy to see why drivers in Pennsylvania should take DWI charges seriously.