Pennsylvania has established a three-tier penalty system for driving under the influence. If you receive a DUI conviction, your sentence will depend on your blood alcohol content as recorded with a breath testing device at the scene.
Penalties vary based on whether your BAC is 0.08 to 0.099% (general impairment), 0.10% to 0.159% (high impairment) or above 0.16% (highest level of impairment).
General impairment penalties
Drivers in the general impairment category receive a $300 fine and up to six months probation for the first offense, along with alcohol driving safety school and possible court-ordered rehabilitation.
The second offense carries up to six months in jail, a fine of up to $2,500, license suspension for a year and a mandated ignition interlock device for 12 months after license reinstatement. Subsequent offenses receive a 12-month license suspension, up to two years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000 in addition to an ignition interlock device.
High impairment penalties
If you fall into the high impairment category on your first offense, you can receive a fine of up to $5,000, six months in prison and a 12-month license suspension. Second-time offenders in this category must also use an interlock ignition device. Subsequent offenders receive a fine of up to $10,000, an 18-month license suspension and up to five years in prison.
Penalties above 0.16% BAC
First-offense penalties in this category are also used for drivers who refuse a breath test and/or are under the influence of a controlled substance. These consequences are the same as for the high impairment category. However, the second offense raises possible fines to $10,000.
DUI convictions can also affect your ability to work and seek future employment. People who receive a DUI charge often benefit from seeking legal advice because of the severity of penalties, including high fines and jail time, and the wide range of possible sentences for DUI in Pennsylvania.