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What Happens if Drunk Driving Caused an Accident?

The way Pennsylvania law treats driving under the influence (DUI) is different when an accident occurred because of the infraction. By different, we mean harsher.

For example, on a first offense where the blood alcohol level (BAC) is between .08 and .099 percent, the driver who was apprehended due to simple driving behaviors (such as failure to comply with lane markings, weaving or improper use of directional signals, etc.) can be fined $300 and receive six months probation. Driving privileges remain intact for that individual. But someone found to have a BAC of 0.10 or above who was also involved in an accident can receive much higher penalties: fines up to $5,000, up to six months in jail, and loss of driving privileges for 12 months.

If the accident occurred in a third or fourth DUI offense, the penalties escalate. Jail time can be as long as five years and fines can be as much as $10,000. Driving privileges can be revoked for a period of 18 months, and an ignition interlock device, which tests the driver for BAC on every use, can be imposed upon the driver for an additional 12 months.

A provision in the laws allows some drivers whose licenses have been suspended to begin to drive for purposes of work, study or medical treatment after serving an initial period of total license suspension. This is known as the Occupational Limited License (OLL). However, a disqualifier for OLL eligibility is an accident involving death.

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