How Much Does a First Time DUI Cost in Pennsylvania?

Driving under the influence in Pennsylvania can have a high cost in terms of potential harm to human lives, but it also carries with a quite literal penalties and costs if you are arrested. People worried about getting a DUI or who have just gotten their first one may wonder exactly what the damage is in terms of dollars and cents.

On paper, laying out such numbers would seem easy, but in real life the costs are much more wide-ranging. Some even estimate that the first time costs to be in excess of five figures when factoring in costs like court fees and increased insurance premiums.

These prohibitive costs illustrate why not driving under the influence is so important and also why hiring a Pennsylvania DUI lawyer could pay off if you can get your charges reduced or dropped.

Fines and fees for a first-time DUI offense in Pennsylvania

Looking just at the laws on the books, Pennsylvania has a $300 minimum fine for first-time DUI offenders. $500 is the maximum as long as you are under the “high” BAC threshold of 0.10.

First-time offenders with a BAC between .10 and .159 can expect larger fines, from a minimum of $500 to a maximum of $5,000. Those arrested with substantial BACs over .16 will incur harsher penalties of $1,000 to $5,000.

However, these are just the court-ordered penalty fees. You may also be asked to pay court fees for the handling of your case, which can range from $150 to $1,000 or more. Convictions will lead to a mandatory Court Reporting evaluation period, typically handled by a probation officer, which will also lead to monthly fees around $35 for a minimum of six months. Restoring your license can likewise cost you $75 to $88 at PennDOT.

On top of all this, first time offenders are required to attend Alcohol Highway Safety School, sometimes colloquially known as “DUI school,” which can charge between $200 and $1000 for a set of classes.

So, in total, just looking at low-end direct costs as a result of mandatory requirements, here are the first offense DUI fines you may face for your first DUI charge in Pennsylvania:

  • BAC .08 – 0.099: $935 – $1,135
  • BAC .10 – 0.159: $1,135 – $5,635
  • BAC above .16: $1,635 – $5,635

Weighing the Total Cost of Your First DUI Offense

In addition to the costs outlined above, there are also secondary costs to consider. For instance, your state-mandated minimum liability coverage insurance premiums are likely to rise after you get a DUI conviction. These premium hikes can account for thousands a year.

Additionally, there are the unpredictable costs if you lose your job, lose working hours traveling to DUI school or probation and other such opportunity costs. Some like Bankrate estimate that a single DUI without property damage can still cost around $20,000 all said and done.

Here’s a breakdown of the major costs of a first time DUI in Pennsylvania:

Minimum Fine $300
Auto Insurance Increase $2,000 to $6,000
Penalty Assessment $50
State Restitution Fund $100
Alcohol-Abuse Education Fund $50
Blood/Breath Testing Fee $37
Jail-Cite-and-Release Fee $10
Driving/Alcohol-Awareness School $375
License Reissue Fee $60
Attorney Fees (average) $2,500
Total: $5,482 to $9,482

In all, you could be looking at more than $10,000 in associated fees after your arrest.

These high costs are exactly the reason that anyone arrested for driving under the influence should find a reputable Pennsylvania DUI lawyer. The Law Offices of Steven E. Kellis offer free case consultations, so call (215) 940-1200 if you or someone close to you is arrested for DUI.