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An Overview of DUI Laws in Pennsylvania

Many critics have suggested in the past that Pennsylvania has some of the most lenient driving under the influence (DUI) laws in the nation. But why is this?

One reason could be the lack of minimum jail time for some first offenses and the relatively small minimum amounts for some second and third offenses, as well. But overall, it’s true that the penalties for Pennsylvania offenses pale in comparison to those in other states.

Pennsylvania has a “tiered” sentencing system for DUIs. This means that the higher your blood-alcohol content (BAC), the greater the possible penalty. The penalty also increases for second and subsequent DUIs within 10 years. The consequences for those first offenders in the lowest tier with BACs from .08 to .099 are as follows:

  • First offense: $300 fine and maximum of 6 months’ probation, no driver’s license suspension.
  • Second offense: $300 to $2,500 fine, five days to six months in jail, and a 12-month license suspension, followed by 1-year ignition interlock.
  • Third offense: $500 to $5,000 fine, 10 days to two years in jail, and a 12-month license suspension, followed by 1-year ignition interlock.

It’s important to note that the legal blood alcohol content (BAC) limit for drivers 21 and older is less than .08 percent, while the BAC limit for drivers under 21 is under .02 percent. Pennsylvania’s implied consent laws mean that if you refuse to take a chemical test, you will have your driver’s license suspended, although you can file an appeal. Refusal to take the test results in a one-year license suspension for a first offense and an 18-month license suspension for second and third offenses.

If you’ve been arrested for suspicion of DUI, be sure to speak with skilled Reading defense lawyer David R. Eshelman.

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