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DUI Penalties in Pennsylvania

Aug. 4, 2021

A DUI arrest in Pennsylvania, as with most states, has the potential for steep fines and jail time. Due to the dangers associated with drunk driving, penalties for a conviction are high.

Pennsylvania’s Legal BAC Limits

The legal blood alcohol concentration is 0.08 in Pennsylvania regardless of how intoxicated the person feels. Anyone who is under age 21 can face criminal DUI charges if their BAC is greater than zero. Breathalyzer tests are most widely used to determine someone’s BAC as they can easily be used in the field. However, blood, urine, hair follicles, and saliva can also be tested.

Even though breath tests are not as accurate as blood tests, they are widely accepted by courts as evidence against a DUI suspect. Unfortunately, some of these tests have shown variances up to 15% from blood draw testing. This discrepancy can mean that some DUI suspects facing conviction were not legally impaired at the time of the arrest.

Penalties Vary in Drunk Driving Cases

Penalties in drunk driving cases can be severe. First-time offenders are often given milder fines and punishments, but this is not always the case.

Aggravated DUI suspects include those found driving with a BAC of greater than 0.10 and those found to have minors in the vehicle, who can expect much harsher punishments. This can include time in prison, license revocation, exorbitant fees and court costs, and vehicle impoundment.

Some people convicted of DUI must undergo mandatory alcohol education and treatment as a part of their punishment. An ignition interlock device is sometimes installed on the vehicle of someone with a DUI conviction. This device requires a quick breath test to ensure that no alcohol is present in the driver’s system prior to the vehicle starting. If the driver has alcohol in their system, the vehicle simply won’t start.

In the long run, a DUI conviction can affect auto insurance costs, employment prospects, and even professional licensure. This is why it’s important to mount a defense in an attempt to avoid the penalties.