Pennsylvania First Offense DUI Laws

First Five Things to Do
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%
  • Incapable of safe driving
  • No injury or property damage

Penalties

  • Up to six months probation
  • No license suspension
  • No mandatory jail time
  • No ignition interlock3
  • A fine of $300
  • $50 surcharge
  • $100 Substance Abuse Education and Demand Reduction Fund.
  • Treatment when ordered
  • DUI school
  • ARD eligible

2. High Impairment

Criteria

  • BAC between .10 and 0.159%
  • Minor BAC .02 and 0.159%
  • General Impairment BAC with an accident
  • 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 (OLL after 60 days served)
  • Fines between $500 and $5,000
  • $50 surcharge
  • $100 Substance Abuse Education and Demand Reduction Fund.
  • Treatment when ordered
  • DUI school
  • ARD eligible
  • no interlock6

3. Highest Impairment

Criteria

  • BAC of .16% or higher
  • Controlled substance DUI

Penalties

  • Prison sentence of a minimum of three days to a maximum of six months
  • License suspension for 12 months (OLL after 60 days served)
  • Fines between $1,000 and $5,000
  • $50 surcharge
  • $300 Substance Abuse Education and Demand Reduction Fund.
  • Treatment when ordered
  • DUI school
  • no interlock9

Other Important Things to Know

  • 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.

Know Your Rights

As 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.