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When an officer pulls you over in Pennsylvania for suspicion of driving under the influence, he or she will give a breath test to determine your blood alcohol content. A DUI conviction carries more severe penalties for drivers who have a higher level of impairment.

If you are facing a DUI charge, read on to learn more about the state’s three-tiered penalty system.

Penalties above 0.16% BAC

When a driver’s BAC is above 0.16%, he or she can receive fines of up to $10,000, 12-month license suspension and up to six months in prison. These penalties also apply to first-time DUI offenders who are under the influence of a controlled substance and/or refuse the breath test.

Penalties for high impairment

Drivers who have a BAC of 0.10% to 0.159% receive a high impairment charge. This conviction can result in fines of up to $5,000, 12-month license suspension and up to six months in prison for a first offense, with up to five years in prison, 18-month license suspension and fines of up to $10,000 for a subsequent offense. Second-time offenders must install an ignition interlock device at their own expense upon license reinstatement.

General impairment penalties

If an officer pulls you over and you have a BAC of 0.08% to 0.09%, you could receive up to six months probation and fines of up to $300 for a first offense. You may receive court-ordered rehabilitation and alcohol driving safety school. A second offense in this category results in a one-year license suspension, mandated ignition interlock device upon reinstatement, fines of up to $2,500 and up to six months in jail. Fines increase to $5,000 and prison time up to two years for a subsequent offense.

Many people seek legal advice for a Pennsylvania DUI charge. The wide-ranging penalties for each offense provide room to negotiate based on the circumstances of your case, especially if you are a first-time offender.