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What are some reasons for the differences between DUI penalties?

On Behalf of | Jun 17, 2020 | DUI

Pennsylvania’s laws classify certain charges of driving under the influence as more severe offenses. In addition to other circumstances, the result of a blood or chemical test could determine whether an individual will face a misdemeanor or felony conviction. 

Motorists with a test result showing a blood alcohol content of 0.08% or less could face a misdemeanor for general impairment, as noted by the Pennsylvania DOT Driver and Vehicle Services. A second offense with a BAC of less than 0.08% also classifies as a misdemeanor but may result in a harsher sentence. As reported by WHYY PBS, after a third DUI arrest in Pennsylvania, a motorist may receive a felony charge. 

Penalties for first- and second-offense DUI convictions 

If there were no bodily injuries or property damages, a first-time DUI conviction might result in a $300 fine and six months of probation. A motorist could also expect the possibility of a suspended license and a requirement to attend a highway safety program. 

Penalties for a second DUI could result in spending six months in jail and paying a $2,500 fine. A judge may also require a motorist to install an ignition interlock device. The convicted motorist’s vehicle will not start unless he or she blows into the IID and the device registers a legally acceptable BAC level. 

High-BAC offenses and penalties 

An individual whose BAC level test results show 0.16% or more faces a conviction for a high-BAC offense. Penalties may include a fine of up to $5,000 and six months of imprisonment. Some individuals may qualify to undergo substance-abuse treatment in exchange for a lesser jail sentence. 

Felony DUI and penalties 

A third DUI with a BAC test result of at least 0.16% or with a controlled substance results in a felony. The fourth and subsequent offense, however, is a felony DUI regardless of what a blood or chemical test shows. 

Pennsylvania also allows a judge to order harsher punishments for impaired motorists convicted of causing a fatal accident. Penalties could include up to 10 years of imprisonment and a $25,000 fine. 

Pennsylvania Drunk Driving Defense: Law, Tactics, and Procedure | by Patrick F. Lauer, Jr. | Revere Legal Publishers