Pennsylvania police officers will arrest anyone who violates the state’s impaired driving law. People involved in collisions or who show signs of diminished ability at the wheel can end up arrested if they fail chemical tests.

An individual’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) can have a major impact on driving under the influence (DUI) charges. These are the two main ways in which someone’s BAC can potentially affect their criminal case.

An elevated BAC is a reason to bring charges

People frequently assume that only those who drive poorly get arrested for DUI offenses, but that is not necessarily true. Police officers can arrest anyone who is over the legal limit for their BAC based on their age or license type. Regardless of whether or not someone’s driving seems different, having a BAC of over the limit for their license type will lead to DUI allegations. For most people, the BAC limit for a DUI arrest is 0.08%. Those in control of commercial vehicles could face the rest with a BAC of 0.04%. Teenagers could face charges for a BAC of just 0.02%.

High-BAC charges can increase someone’s penalties

Anyone over the legal limit or who demonstrated obvious issues safely operating a motor vehicle could get arrested by the police and charged with a DUI offense. Those with a BAC of 0.10% or higher could face additional penalties. High BAC charges can lead to longer jail sentences and license suspensions, as well as higher total fines. A first DUI often means up to six months probation and a $300 fine. If someone has a high BAC of between 0.10% and 0.159%, they could spend up to six months in prison, lose their license for 12 months and pay up to $5,000 in fines. Although the maximum penalty is the same for those with a BAC of 0.16% or higher, the minimum penalties are much higher for such charges.

Those who understand the effect that their BAC may have on their legal circumstances may be more proactive about monitoring themselves before driving and about seeking legal guidance in the wake of an arrest. Learning more about Pennsylvania DUI charges can help those who are worried about losing their license or other criminal penalties as a result of a DUI.