BAC Level Over .16% in Pennsylvania - What Are Your Rights?

A Dui In Pennsylvania With A Bac Over .16%

Information on the laws and penalties you face if you were charged with a DUI in PA with the highest level BAC.

If you are found guilty of driving under the influence (DUI or DWI) in Pennsylvania, the penalties are very harsh. If you add to the offense that you have a very high blood alcohol content, or BAC, your penalties will increase drastically.

Not only are you possibly facing jail time, license suspension, fines, and a crime on your permanent record, but you also run the risk of losing your job, or have difficulty obtaining employment in the future. In addition, you may also have outrageous insurance premiums – or fail to find a company to insure you at all.

These are very real consequences that extend to your everyday life. An experienced and aggressive Pittsburgh DUI Defense Attorney can help fight your charges and try to have them reduced or dropped altogether.

There are ways to fight back and protect your freedom. Winning a DUI in PA is possible. The value of having an aggressive DUI lawyer may very well outweigh the costs to your freedom, your license, your job and your future.

Pittsburgh DUI Attorney Christopher Thomas offers Free Case Evaluations to anyone charged with a DUI.

A Dui In Pennsylvania With A Bac Over .16%

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    This is your life. You have rights.

    An experienced Pittsburgh DUI Lawyer can help you determine your options and fight your charges so you can move forward with your life. A knowledgeable DUI attorney will help you understand your options and the different types of Alternative DUI Diversion Programs available, like the ARD Program.


    In Pennsylvania, the severity of your punishment if found guilty of a DUI is determined by two things:

    1. Your Blood Alcohol Content (BAC);
    2. The number of previous DUIs you may have had in the past.

    The three tiers are impairment levels and are determined by the BAC at the time of the arrest. The BAC can be measured via a breathalyzer or a blood sample and generally need to be taken within two hours of your arrest.

    The tiers are separated as follows:

    1. First Tier: .08% – .099% BAC. (general impairment)
    2. Second Tier: .1% – .159% BAC. (High BAC)
    3. Third Tier: .16% and higher BAC. (Highest BAC)

    If you are arrested for a DUI and your BAC measured at .16% or higher, you will be charged in the highest tier, and thus face harsher consequences. In addition, the more subsequent DUIs you have on your record, the direr your situation becomes.

    A knowledgeable criminal lawyer can make a huge difference in your case. They can aggressively fight to protect your rights. They are also skilled negotiators who are capable of working out a plea deal if necessary.


    The punishments for a DUI in the highest tier increase depending on whether you have any prior DUIs on your record.

    For a first offense DUI in the third tier the charge is an ungraded misdemeanor and carries the following penalties:

    • Three days to six months in jail;
    • 12 month license suspension;
    • $1,000 – $5,000 in fines;
    • Attendance in Alcohol Highway Safety School.

    For a second offense DUI in the third tier, the charge is a first degree misdemeanor and carries the following penalties:

    • 90 days to five years in jail;
    • 18 month license suspension;
    • $1,500 – $10,000 in fines;
    • Attendance in Alcohol Highway Safety School;
    • One year ignition interlock device in your vehicle

    For a third offense and higher DUI in the third tier, the charge is a first degree misdemeanor and carries the following penalties:

    • One to five years in prison;
    • 18 month license suspension;
    • $2,500 – $10,000 in fines;
    • Attendance in Alcohol Highway Safety School;
    • One year ignition interlock device in your vehicle.

    Please see the Pennsylvania DUI Sentencing Guideline PDF for information on multiple DUIs and other types of DUI Sentencing.

    A DUI can be won in court.

    Even though Pennsylvania has some tough guidelines for sentencing a DUI conviction, no case is ever hopeless.

    Several diversion programs exist for a first time DUI offenders – even those first time offenders who fall into the highest BAC tier. A diversion program could make it possible to have your record wiped clean and avoid a lengthy license suspension. You need the help of an attorney to gain acceptance into such programs.

    There are also court ordered programs available to people who have multiple DUIs and it is possible to have your sentencing and fines greatly reduced if your lawyer makes a plea for one of these programs.

    A Pittsburgh DUI Attorney That Can Make A Difference

    Pittsburgh DUI Attorney Christopher Thomas is a compassionate attorney but aggressive in his approach to defending his clients’ rights and liberties.

    He is here to guide you through a difficult time and do what it takes to have your case dismissed or your sentencing reduced to a minimum.

    Call Pittsburgh DUI Lawyer Christopher Thomas for a free legal evaluation of your case. He is here to answer your questions, listen to your situation, explain your rights and offer the best steps in defending your rights and fighting for your license and your freedom.

    Tell Us Your Stories and Ask Us Your Questions

    Call 412-765-3345 for a free case evaluation. Our attorneys are available by phone, email or in-person.

    SMT Legal attorneys believe in aggressively representing our clients while maintaining the personal compassion needed when counseling clients through difficult situations and navigating a complex legal system. Contact us today.

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