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Understanding Pennsylvania's 3 Tiered DUI Law

The penalties for drunk driving are steep for Pennsylvania college students, and the consequences of a conviction can impact various areas of a defendant's life. Even a first-time offense can bring serious penalties, including fines, probation and much more. If you are facing charges for drunk driving, it can be useful to understand DUI laws in the state and how you should go about building a strong defense.

In Pennsylvania, there are certain levels of DUI offenses based on the driver's blood alcohol content at the time of arrest. The penalties and consequences increase in severity with each level. No matter which level of DUI you are facing, you have the right to present a strong defense and work to protect your future interests.

The levels of DUI offenses in Pennsylvania

Depending on the type of DUI charges you currently face, penalties can range from loss of driving privileges to an extended time behind bars. It can be helpful to know what to expect so that you can effectively confront these charges. The different types of DUI charges include:

  • General impairment: A general impairment DUI is when a driver has a BAC of .08 to .099 percent. This is a misdemeanor offense and includes penalties such as fines ranging from $300 to $5,000 and other consequences, depending on the driver's previous DUI
  • High BAC: This offense applies to drivers who have a BAC of .10 to .159 percent. This is a misdemeanor, and it includes fines for as much as $10,000 and time in prison. Consequences depend on the driver's DUI
  • Highest BAC: This is for individuals arrested with a BAC of .16 percent or higher. Penalties include steep fines, time in prison, alcohol safety school and more. Consequences depend on the driver's DUI

In addition to the fines, threat of time behind bars and other consequences, including an impact on your college education, you may also find that you no longer have your right to drive or must have an ignition interlock device installed in your car. Drunk driving is expensive and a conviction is disruptive.

How can I defend myself?

No matter your DUI criminal history, it is always a worthwhile effort to defend yourself and your interests. You have the right to build a strong defense, challenge the evidence against you, and fight for the most beneficial outcome to your individual case. After an arrest for drunk driving, you have no time to lose in defending yourself and safeguarding your future, both at your college or university and beyond.

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