Pennsylvania DUI Laws

In the state of Pennsylvania, a police officer can arrest you for driving under the influence or Pennsylvania DUI. Such an arrest has consequences, all of which are based on blood alcohol content (BAC) level tier system. If you are a driver with a BAC level of 0.08 to 0.099%, you belong to the first tier. The second and third tiers are 0.10 to .159% and 0.16% or higher, respectively. As tier becomes higher, the more serious become the penalties and fines.

Pennsylvania has a “per se” law that allows any police officer to arrest any driver who has a measurable amount of alcohol and drugs in his system. These drivers are punished with third tier system penalties.

Two DUI cases in Pennsylvania

When you got arrested for Pennsylvania DUI, you automatically face two cases; one involves the court and the other involves the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. When it comes to the court case, it will determine your penalties, which include possible loss of driving privilege. Your case with the Department of Transportation will determine a separate penalty to your driving privilege.

These two cases are very important for you to face properly, which is why you must obtain legal assistance as soon as you get arrested. During your arrest, you will have to submit to a Blood Alcohol Concentration or BAC test. You do have the right not to submit to such a test. However, be prepared to face stiffer consequences for your offense.

Basic Consequences for First-Time Offenders

The consequences that you will have to face for your first-time DUI arrest depend on your BAC tier level.

First-tier BAC offenders will face the following:

  • Maximum of 6 months probation
  • Misdemeanor charge
  • $300 Maximum fine
  • Mandatory classes at Alcohol Highway Safety School
  • Treatment for alcoholism
  • Maximum of 6 months in prison

If you belong to the second tier BAC level, you will face first-tier penalties including the following:

  • Fine of $500 to $5,000
  • Minimum of 48 hours prison time, up to a maximum of 6 months

If you are a third-tier BAC system offender, you will face:

  • Minimum of 72 hours prison time, up to a maximum of 6 months
  • Fine of $1,000 to $5,000

If you are a repeat Pennsylvania DUI offender, you will certainly face more serious fines and prison time. It is also possible for you to have an ignition interlock device installed in your car.

Suspension of Driver’s License

Aside from hefty fines and prison times, a Pennsylvania DUI arrest has a negative effect on your driver’s license. However, if it is only your first offense and your BAC level is below 0.10%, your license will not face suspension.

Your license will only be suspended if there are other circumstances that surround the arrest. If you are a repeat offender, you automatically face long suspension times.

Driver’s license suspension times in the state of Pennsylvania are the following:

  • First offense: Suspension not necessary
  • Second offense: 1 year
  • Third offense: 1 year to 1 year and 6 months

Consequences of DUI to Insurance

Pennsylvania DUI certainly affects the cost of your premiums. Still, worse than this is the possibility that you insurer might drop you and cancel your insurance after your DUI arrest. In case your contract is not cancelled, you will have to deal with your policy’s premiums being increased significantly. This makes it difficult for you to maintain your auto insurance.

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