Pennsylvania DUI Penalties

In Pennsylvania, the severity of punishment for a DUI conviction is determined by how many previous DUI convictions exist and by the blood alcohol content (BAC) level. BAC levels are divided into three categories for purposes of determining the severity of the charge, as follows:

a.      BAC of .08 percent to .099 percent
b.      BAC of .10 percent to .159 percent
c.      BAC of .16 percent or higher

A refusal to submit to a BAC test would fall into the third category regardless of the actual level of intoxication.

Any DUI conviction requires a Court Reporting Network (CRN) evaluation. A first or second offense also requires Alcohol Highway Safety School (AHSS) attendance. Subsequent convictions and any conviction of DUI with BAC of .16 percent or higher will require attendance at a Drug and Alcohol (D&A) assessment and treatment center. Any second conviction and beyond will also mandate that an Ignition Interlock System be installed on the person’s vehicle.

FIRST OFFENSE OR FIRST WITHIN PAST 10 YEARS

A first offense of DUI is considered an ungraded misdemeanor regardless of BAC level. However, other penalties vary.

BAC under .10 percent includes no license suspension and no jail time, but there is a $300 fine and a possible probation period of up to six months. In addition to CRN evaluation and AHSS attendance, D&A treatment may be ordered although not required.

BAC between .10 percent and .159 percent includes jail time of 48 hours up to six months, a fine of $500 to $5000, and a 12-month license suspension. CRN evaluation and AHSS attendance is required, with possible D&A counseling. An Occupational Limited License, OLL, may be obtained after at least two months hard suspension of driving privileges.

BAC of .16 percent or above, or refusal to surrender breath or blood for analysis, includes 72 hours to six months in jail, a fine of $1000 to $5000, and a 12-month license suspension. CRN evaluation, AHSS attendance, and full D&A treatment are mandatory. Again, an OLL may be obtained after a minimum of two months hard suspension.

SECOND OFFENSE

A second conviction for a BAC of less than .16 percent is an ungraded misdemeanor. A second conviction for a BAC of .16 percent or more, however, is a first-degree misdemeanor. CRN evaluation, AHSS attendance and D&H treatment are required for all three, in addition to license suspension for 12 months, followed by an Ignition Interlock device for a subsequent 12 months. Other penalties vary.

BAC under .099 percent carries a mandatory jail sentence of five days to six months. The monetary penalty is $300 to $2,500.

BAC of at least .10 percent but less than .16 percent has a mandatory jail time of 30 days up to six months. The fine increases to $750 to $5000.

BAC of .16 percent or higher involves jail time of 90 days to five years. The fine in this case is at least $1,500 and up to 10,000.

THIRD OFFENSE

If convicted a third time, a BAC level less than .10 percent is a second-degree misdemeanor, while .10 percent and higher is a first-degree misdemeanor. Ignition Interlock devices are required for 12 months in all three cases, but the license suspension period increases from 12 to 18 months for BAC levels at .10 percent and above. There is no longer AHSS attendance, but CRN evaluation and D&H evaluation are required. Other penalties vary.

BAC level of less than .10 percent carries a jail sentence of 10 days to two years. Fines are $4,500 to $5,000.

BAC level of at least .10 percent but less than .16 percent carries a jail sentence of 90 days to five years. The fine is $1,500 to $10,000.

BAC level of .16 percent or higher carries a jail sentence of one to five years. The fine in this case is $2,500 to $10,000.

FOURTH OFFENSE

If convicted a fourth time, only a BAC of less than .10 percent is a second-degree misdemeanor with a license suspension of 12 months and Ignition Interlock device for a subsequent 12 months. Both other BAC level convictions are first-degree misdemeanors and include license suspension for 18 months and Ignition Interlock devices for 12 months. AHSS attendance is not required, but both CRN evaluation and D&H treatment are. Other penalties vary.

BAC level of less than .10 percent involves a jail sentence of 10 days to two years. Fines vary from $500 to $5000.

BAC level of at least .10 percent but less than .16 percent involves a jail sentence of one to five years. Fines range from $1,500 to $10,000.

BAC level of .16 percent or higher involves a jail sentence of one to five years. Fines are $2,500 to $10,000.