Under the provisions of Act 24, Pennsylvania dropped its legal limit of alcohol to 0.08. in 2003.
If you have been charged with driving under the influence (DUI) in Pennsylvania, prepare yourself to face a complex set of laws about this crime. DUI laws in the state now specify a multi-tiered enforcement system, as well as new provisions for treatment, penalties, suspensions, and fines.
A Pennsylvania DUI lawyer from McKenzie Law Firm, P.C. can help you navigate the new laws and assist you in putting your best foot forward with the courts.
Call us today to tell us about your case: 610-680-7842.
DUI Law in Pennsylvania Categorizes DUI’s by Their BAC Levels
With Act 24, Pennsylvania’s DUI incidents now fall into one of three categories, each with its own set of enforcement tactics, penalties and/or treatment options:
- General impairment: 0.00–0.09 percent BAC
- High BAC: 0.10–0.159 percent BAC
- Highest BAC: 0.16 and higher percent BAC
The new laws also hold certain drivers and situations under greater scrutiny. School bus drivers, commercial drivers, and drivers whose DUI causes either injury to another person or damage to another party’s property might face stiffer penalties associated with higher BAC percentages, despite their actual BAC.
General Impairment Penalties
If your BAC falls between 0.08 percent and 0.099 percent, and you have no prior offenses, you face a $300 fine, up to six months’ probation, and alcohol safety school. For one prior offense, you might get a 12-month suspension of your license, up to $2,500 fine, up to six months in jail, and one-year ignition interlock. For two or more prior offenses, you have now committed a second-degree misdemeanor and will face a 12-month license suspension, up to two years in prison, up to $5,000 fine, and a one-year ignition interlock*.
The judge might order treatment in any of the above situations.
High BAC Penalties
If your BAC reads at 0.10 percent to 0.159 percent, and you have no prior offenses, you face up to $5,000 fine, up to six months in prison, and a 12-month license suspension. If you had one prior DUI offense, you face a fine up to $5,000, up to six months in prison, a 12-month driver’s license suspension, and a one-year ignition lock*. For two or more prior DUIs, you have now committed a first-degree misdemeanor and face up to five years in prison, up to $10,000 fine, and a one-year ignition interlock*.
In all the high BAC scenarios, you will face alcohol highway safety school, and the judge can order treatment at their discretion.
Highest BAC Penalties
If your BAC registers between 0.16 percent or higher, or you are found to be driving while under the influence of a controlled substance, and you are a first-time offender, you face up to six months in prison, up to $5,000 fine, and 12-month license suspension. With one prior DUI offense, you now face a first-degree misdemeanor charge, with up to five years in prison, a $10,000 fine, an 18-month license suspension, and a one-year ignition interlock*. With two or more prior DUIs, which also qualifies as a first-degree misdemeanor, you face up to 5 years in prison, up to $10,000 fine, an 18-month license suspension, and a one-year ignition interlock*
With all highest BAC offenses, you could wind up in alcohol highway safety school. Again, the judge is empowered to order treatment in any scenario, regardless of prior offenses.
For many DUI offenses in Pennsylvania, a judge can impose the penalty of placing an ignition interlock device on your vehicle. This device is a breathalyzer that you must blow into before starting your vehicle, and you will need to install it on any vehicle you own before the judge restores your suspended driving privileges.
New Rules Signed into Law in 2018 Make Penalties Even Stiffer for Some DUIs
In October 2018, Governor Tom Wolf signed into law new legislation that makes penalties for certain DUI offenses even harsher than they already were.
If you are convicted of vehicular homicide while under the influence, and you have a previous DUI conviction, you face at least five years in prison for each fatality you cause. If you have two more prior DUIs, you face a minimum term of seven years in prison.
Furthermore, if you are arrested a third time with a BAC level at 0.16 percent or higher, you will be charged with a felony. The same holds for any fourth or greater arrest for driving while drunk or drugged.
Pennsylvania Courts Mean Business and You Need to Be Prepared
The stakes are higher than ever before for Pennsylvania drivers who drink and drive. McKenzie Law Firm, P.C.’s David C. McKenzie III is a Pennsylvania DUI lawyer who formerly served as a prosecutor. He can put his knowledge of the legal system to work for you.
Call 610-680-7842 for a review of your case today.