The idea that penalties for drunk driving are serious is not unfamiliar to most individuals. Pennsylvania, however, takes a tiered approach to assigning penalties following a DUI conviction. The Blood Alcohol Content level (BAC) of the accused individual and any prior DUI offenses contribute to the penalties the individual will face following a DUI conviction.
For individuals who are measured at a BAC of 0.08 to 0.99, possible penalties vary by DUI offense history. For those that do not have any prior DUI offenses, potential penalties include up to 6 months of probation; a $300 fine; alcohol classes; and treatment as ordered. For individuals who have one prior DUI offense, potential penalties include a one year license suspension; a 5 day to 6 month jail sentence; fines totaling $300 to $2,500 ; alcohol classes and treatment; and one year of an ignition interlock device which requires the individual to breath into the device prior to starting their vehicle.
Individuals who are accused of a DUI and have 2 or more prior DUI offenses, and a BAC of 0.08 to 0.99, face potential penalties for a DUI conviction including a one year license suspension; a 10 day to 2 year jail or prison sentence; a fine ranging from $500 to $5,000; treatment as ordered; and one year of an ignition interlock device. Potential penalties increase according to higher BAC levels of the accused individual.
DUI penalties can include both administrative penalties, including license suspension, and criminal penalties, including jail or prison time and fines. As such, a DUI can have a significant negative impact on the life of an accused individual. Because of this, it is important for anyone facing a DUI charge to be familiar with criminal defense rights. A strong criminal defense strategy will focus on options that may be available to challenge the charges against the accused party to reduce or eliminate charges altogether in some circumstances.
Source: Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, “.08 DUI Legislation,” accessed Oct. 28, 2014