Pennsylvania First Offense DUI Laws

First DUI in PA

Being accused of a First Offense DUI in Pennsylvania can be a nerve-wracking experience. You likely have a number of questions about the possible DUI penalties:

  • Will I lose my license?
  • Will I go to jail?
  • How much will my fines be?
  • Will I have to attend traffic school?
  • Will my insurance rates go up?
  • Will the arrest go on my record?

First of all, understand that even though this is your first offense, it does not mean it’s “no big deal.” The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania will almost certainly prosecute you, and if you are convicted, the consequences will follow you forever. Let’s take a look at the laws and penalties of a First Offense DUI in Pennsylvania.

First Offense DUI Penalties

The severity of a First Offense DUI conviction depends on how much alcohol was in your bloodstream when you were pulled over – a ratio called your Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC). The higher your BAC, the higher the penalties you can expect.

The State of Pennsylvania defines three tiers of impairment based on your BAC:

1. General Impairment

Criteria
  • BAC between .08 and .099%
  • no property damage or injury
  • Driver is at least 21 years of age
Penalties
  • Up to six months probation
  • A fine of $300

2. High Impairment

Criteria
  • BAC between .10 and 0.159%
  • General BAC with an accident or injury
  • General BAC if driver is under 21
  • School Bus Driver with BAC between 0.02% and .159%
  • Commercial Vehicle with BAC between .04 and 0.159%
Penalties
  • Prison sentence of between two days and six months
  • License suspension for 12 months
  • Fines between $500 and $5,000

3. Highest Impairment

Criteria
  • BAC of .16% or higher
  • Refusal to take a chemical test
  • DUI Drugs
Penalties
  • Prison sentence of a minimum of three days to a maximum of six months
  • License suspension for 12 months
  • Fines between $1,000 and $5,000

Other Important Things to Know

  • If you refused a roadside chemical or breath test, you will be automatically charged under the Highest Impairment category and face the highest penalties allowed under the law, regardless of your BAC.
  • A DUI conviction – even a first offense – goes on your permanent, public criminal record. That means future employers, landlords, lenders, and anyone with an interest in your past can see it – including your insurance company. Drivers convicted of DUI often see a marked increase in their car insurance rates and can be dropped by their insurance provider altogether.

The McShane Firm, LLC - Law OfficesAs you can see, the penalties of a First Offense DUI are no joke. If you find yourself accused of a First Offense DUI in Pennsylvania, the experienced DUI lawyers at The McShane Firm can help to minimize or eliminate the charges against you. Our professionally aggressive attorneys are skilled in all aspects of Pennsylvania DUI law, and have extensive DUI training and certification. Contact us for your free initial consultation.