Losing your license, spending time in jail and paying hefty fines are just a few punishments you face when charged with a DUI in Pennsylvania.
The penalties vary greatly, mostly depending on the BAC (blood alcohol content) level at the time of your arrest, but also on whether the DUI involved:
This web page explains the laws, penalties and sentencing a person faces if they have been arrested for DUI in Pennsylvania. It is general information that provides a guideline for what to expect if you or a loved one has been charged with a DUI.
The below guidelines DO NOT mean for certain that you will be sentenced and incur these fines and penalties. If you have not been convicted you still have a fighting chance to beat your DUI or have your sentencing reduced.
It is also possible to have the sentencing reduced through diversion programs. It is advisable to speak directly to an experienced Pittsburgh DUI lawyer if you have been charged with a DUI.
A recent (2016) U.S. Supreme Court Ruling – The Birchfield Ruling – could actually mean that a past DUI conviction could be overturned or the sentencing could be drastically reduced, depending on the specifics of your case.
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Your BAC level, or blood alcohol content level, at the time of arrest plays a large factor in how you could be sentenced upon conviction, including how much time you will spend in jail, the amount of the fine, for how long you will lose your license and whether you will have a misdemeanor DUI or a felony DUI on your record.
There are three tiers of blood alcohol content (BAC) levels that the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania uses as a general guideline for sentencing DUI convictions. They are as follows:
There are some exceptions to the sentencing levels. Regardless of your BAC level, you may fall into a higher sentencing guideline category if any of the following apply:
Punishments under the BAC Levels depend on whether it was a first offense DUI, second offense, or if you have had multiple DUIs.
1. LOWEST LEVEL BAC: .08 – .099
FIRST OFFENSE – LOWEST LEVEL
SECOND OFFENSE – LOWEST LEVEL
2.HIGH LEVEL BAC: .10 – .159
FIRST OFFENSE – HIGH LEVEL
SECOND OFFENSE – HIGH LEVEL
3. HIGHEST LEVEL BAC: .16 AND HIGHER
FIRST OFFENSE – HIGHEST LEVEL
SECOND OFFENSE – HIGHEST LEVEL
Please see the Pennsylvania DUI Sentencing Guideline PDF for information on and other types of DUI Sentencing.
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, which could make it possible to have your record wiped clean and avoid a lengthy license suspension.
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.
Each circumstance is unique and that is why an experienced DUI attorney can be of great value throughout the process.
At SMT Legal we understand the challenges you face, but we also will fight aggressively for your freedom. We will closely investigate all evidence, police reports and talk to any witnesses that may be helpful in fighting for your liberties.
If the police did not follow proper procedures or have a valid reason to pull you over in the first place, it is possible to have your entire case dismissed and off your record.
In addition to having a case dismissed, there are many different ways to plea a case and our criminal attorneys will take into account every possible factor in order to have your sentencing reduced and your license reinstated as soon as possible.
Learn more about winning a DUI case in PA.
Our DUI attorneys believe that people are inherently good. Lots of people make mistakes and some are falsely accused. A harsh punishment is rarely productive for anyone involved.
Defendants have families who also bear the burden of their loved one being sentenced to jail and losing their job or their license. Many people need treatment programs, not harsh sentencing.
Our aggressive and compassionate attorneys are here to guide you through a difficult time.
Call Pittsburgh DUI Lawyer Christopher Thomas for a free legal evaluation of your case.
Attorney Thomas is here to answer your questions, listen to your situation, explain your rights and offer the best steps to defending your rights and getting your future on track.
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.