Driving under the influence of alcohol or other controlled substances (DUI) is a serious offense in Pennsylvania. A conviction can lead to steep fines, license suspension, and even jail time. The penalties an offender will face upon conviction depend on their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level upon testing, as well as whether they have had any prior convictions within a 10-year period.

If you are facing DUI charges in Pennsylvania, understanding the following three tiers can help you know what steps to take to increase your chances of avoiding the harshest consequences of conviction.

General Impairment DUIs

For a first-offense DUI with a BAC of 0.08 percent to 0.099 percent, the penalties include up to six months probation, a $300 fine, driver safety school, and treatment if ordered by the court.

A second offense in this tier carries five days to six months in jail, a $300 to $2,500 fine, a 12-month license suspension, safety school, treatment, and a one-year ignition interlock requirement. Penalties increase further for third and subsequent offenses.

High Rate DUIs

DUIs involving a BAC of 0.10 percent to 0.159 percent fall into the “high rate” tier. A first offense results in 48 hours to six months in jail, a $500 to $5,000 fine, a 12-month license suspension, alcohol highway safety school, and any treatment mandated by the court.

For a second high-rate offense, the jail time increases to 30 days to six months, along with a $750 to $5,000 fine, 12-month suspension, safety school, treatment, and one year of ignition interlock. The penalties escalate significantly for additional offenses in this tier.

Highest Rate DUIs

The most severe DUI penalties apply when the driver’s BAC is 0.16 percent or higher. Even for a first offense, the driver faces 72 hours to half a year in prison, a $1,000 to $5,000 fine, a 12-month license suspension, alcohol highway safety school, and court-ordered treatment.

A second highest rate DUI carries 90 days to five years in prison, an 18-month suspension, a $1,500 to $10,000 fine, safety school, treatment, and one year of ignition interlock. Penalties continue to increase substantially for repeat offenders in this category.

How an Attorney Can Help

If you are facing DUI charges in Pennsylvania, consulting with an experienced DUI defense attorney is crucial. Your lawyer can assess the facts of your case to determine which tier your charges fall into and what penalties you may be facing. They can then develop a strategic defense aimed at getting your charges reduced or dismissed. A skilled attorney may be able to identify problems with the traffic stop, breath test, blood test, or arrest that could get key evidence suppressed. They will fight to protect your rights and advocate forcefully to secure the most favorable outcome possible.

Contact a DUI Attorney Serving Erie County, Pennsylvania, Today

Facing DUI charges in Pennsylvania can be a source of tremendous anxiety. You might be worried about your future, liberty, and reputation. The seasoned Erie, Pennsylvania, DUI attorneys at McCormick & Vilushis LLC understand how overwhelming these feelings can be. Our compassionate legal team can give you the support and advocacy you need at this challenging time. Call or contact us online today for a confidential consultation to learn how we can fight for you.