The Keystone State takes driving under the influence seriously. When you’ve been arrested for one, it may seem like your world is crashing down. Are you going to jail? Will you lose your job? Will you be able to drive? It’s normal to ask all of these questions and below, we take a look at the different penalties associated with getting a DUI in Pennsylvania and how a skilled defense attorney may be able to reduce your charges.
DUI Penalties in Pennsylvania
The penalties associated with a DUI/DWI are based on whether or not this was your first offense and how high your blood alcohol content – or BAC – level was. For those who are facing their first offense, and have a BAC between 0.08 and 0.09%, they will be facing a fine of approximately $300 and a minimum of six months probation. For those who have a BAC of 0.10 to 0.159%, he or she will be facing a minimum of 48 hours in jail and fines up to $5,000, including a license suspension for one year. For individuals with a BAC of 0.16%, they will be facing a maximum of 6 months in jail, a minimum fine of $1,000 and loss of driving privileges for one year.
For those who are facing their second DUI offense, the following penalties will apply:
- BAC of 0.08-0.09%: A monetary fine of up to $2,500, license suspension for 12 months and up to 6 months in jail
- BAC of 0.10-0.159%: A minimum of 30 days in jail, a fine of up to $5,000 and license suspension for 12 months
- BAC of 0.16% and higher: Up to 5 years in jail, up to $10,000 in fines and license suspension for 18 months
It’s important to note that individuals convicted of a second DUI/DWI offense, regardless of their BAC level, will be required to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicles for one year. Individuals will also be required to perform up to 150 hours of community service, enroll in Alcohol Highway Safety School and attend an alcohol and drug treatment program.
A third DUI/DWI is immediate felony charges, with the penalties associated being the most severe. These penalties include:
- BAC 0.08-0.09%: A minimum of 10 days and up to 2 years behind bars, license suspension for 12 months, a minimum of $500 and up to $5,000 in fines. This offense is referred to as a second degree misdemeanor.
- BAC of 0.10-0.159%: A minimum of 1 year but up to 5 years in prison, a monetary fine of up to $10,000 and a license suspension of up to 18 months. This offense is referred to as a first degree misdemeanor. A BAC of 0.16% and higher is also considered a first degree misdemeanor and faces similar penalties as mentioned above.
Similar to those who have committed a second offense, those facing their third DUI/DWI charges will be required to install an ignition interlock device into their vehicle for a minimum of one year, attend drug and alcohol treatment and enroll in Alcohol Highway Safety School.
Individuals convicted of a DUI/DWI will also be facing higher insurance premiums and may find it incredibly difficult, if not impossible, to obtain certain professional licenses such as a CDL and even a nursing license.
Can My Charges Be Reduced?
While being arrested and charged with a DUI can be scary, it’s important to remember that you do have options depending on the circumstances of your case. This is where a skilled criminal defense lawyer comes in handy. Your attorney may be able to reduce your DUI to a Reckless Driving Alcohol Related, also sometimes referred to as “wet reckless.” This option may be available if the following criteria are met:
- You have no prior DUI convictions on your record
- You have no prior criminal history
- Your BAC was closer to the legal limit of 0.08%
- There was no auto accident connected to your DUI
- You didn’t flee the scene, evade the police, resist arrest or possess drugs at the time of your arrest
If the above criteria are met, it’s more than likely the prosecution will accept the plea bargain. If the plea bargain is accepted, you will not have your driver’s license suspended or revoked, however, you may still face license suspension in the administrative hearing, which are triggered by the initial DUI arrest.
Contact An Experienced Colmar Criminal Defense Lawyer About Your Criminal Record
Were you arrested or charged with a crime in Pennsylvania? The consequences of a conviction could be severe, leaving you with a permanent criminal record and possibly even sending you to jail. That is why you need to speak with a qualified criminal defense attorney as soon as possible about your case. The attorneys at Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford, P.C. have successfully helped clients obtain expungements in Norristown, Newtown, Doylestown, Lansdale, and throughout Southeastern Pennsylvania. Call (215) 822-7575 or fill out the online contact form to schedule a consultation with a member of our legal team. We have an office conveniently located at 2605 N. Broad St., Colmar, PA 18915, as well as an office located in Newtown.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.