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What are the three tiers of Pennsylvania DUI law?

Driving under the influence in Pennsylvania may result in various penalties depending on the nature of the offense. Specifically, in Pennsylvania there are three tiers for DUI offenses.

Pennsylvania's three-tiered system establishes DUI penalties according to the driver's blood alcohol content (BAC) and number of previous offenses. The first tier encompasses those whose BAC is 0.08 to .099 percent. Conviction carries a $300 fine, and possible DUI classes or a drug and alcohol treatment program. If a driver's BAC falls between 0.08 to 0.099 percent but it is their second offense, then the penalties will increase to a one-year license suspension, fines of $300 to $2,500, and up to six months in jail. Third-time offenders in this tier may be subject to a maximum fine of $5,000, up to two years in jail and driver's license suspension for a year.

The second tier applies to those whose BAC is 0.10 to 0.159 percent. Penalties for first-time offenders include six months parole, one year license suspension and a fine of up to $5,000. Second-time offenders may receive up to six months jail time, a fine of up to $5,000 and a one-year license suspension. Third-time offenders face up to five years in jail, a maximum fine of $10,000 and an 18-month license suspension.

The third tier carries the harshest penalties because it applies to those with a BAC of 0.16 and higher. For the first offense, penalties include up to six months jail time and a fine of up to $5,000. Second-time offenders face up to five years jail time, a $1,500 fine, mandatory alcohol highway safety school and implementation of an ignition interlock device as a condition of license reinstatement. Third-time offenders in this tier may receive up to five years in jail, a minimum fine of $2,500, an 18-month license suspension and implementation of an ignition interlock device as a condition of license reinstatement.

There are many legal questions to consider when defending a DUI charge regarding the stop, the arrest and the field sobriety tests amongst other circumstances surrounding the incident. Retaining an attorney who can navigate these complex issues may greatly impact the outcome of one's DUI case.

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