When it comes to drinking and driving, the laws are the same across the state of Pennsylvania, including the cities of Philadelphia, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, Erie, Allentown, and everywhere in between. When an individual is pulled over, arrested, booked, and charged with Driving Under the Influence (DUI), it is very important to begin fighting these charges as soon as possible. When looking for help building a strong case, the professionals at DUIRights.com can help get things started.
Fines and Penalties for First Time DUI in Pennsylvania
Like all other states in the country, Pennsylvania has a set of fines and penalties it assigns to those who are convicted of DUI within the state. For those who are first time offenders of Driving Under the Influence, meaning they have no previous offenses of DUI, they will be faced with the following penalties should they be found guilty of DUI in a court of law:
- Fines Between $300 and $5,000 Depending on BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) Level
- Maximum of 6 Months in Jail
- Up to a 1 Year License Suspension
Your DUI Rights in the Keystone State
After being formally charged with Driving Under the Influence, an individual should seek the legal help of a DUI lawyer. This lawyer will be able to review the case in detail, build a strong defense case for their client, and represent them in court. The ultimate goal of both the lawyer and the individual is to have the individual’s DUI charges dismissed and the case thrown out of court so he or she does not have to deal with the fines and penalties.
One of the most effective ways a lawyer can help to get his or her client’s charges dropped is to prove his or her rights were violated in some way during the DUI arrest. In order to do this, the attorney will have to have an understanding of exactly what happened during the traffic stop and arrest and the best way to do this is to ask a series of questions. Some of these questions will include:
- Was the client driving the vehicle at the time of the traffic stop?
- What was the reason the officer gave that the traffic stop was happening?
- Did the officer have consistent observations with other eye witnesses?
- Did the officer administer any field sobriety testing?
- Did the officer administer any Breathalyzer testing?
- Did the officer recite the client’s Miranda Rights while they were being arrested?
Protect your Pennsylvania DUI Rights and learn how to get Pennsylvania DUI charges dismissed. Start Now by filling out the Free DUI Arrest Evaluation Form to get help.
DUI Defense in Pennsylvania
No matter how guilty you may think you were at the time of the arrest, we want you to know one important thing: There is ALWAYS an aggressive and effective defense that will help you fight for the best possible outcome. In our experience, many officers do not follow proper field sobriety test procedures. In fact, challenging probable cause and the way field sobriety tests, blood tests and breath tests were administered is often a successful strategy to reduce or drop the charges. Also, many people plead guilty prematurely based on a breath test with a result above the legal limit. This is a common and costly mistake, as there are a variety of ways in having the breath test suppressed.
DUI Laws in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania is a state that in recent years really started to crack down on DUI violations. While the laws may still be considered somewhat lenient in terms of penalties and fines, law enforcement is very much on the lookout for violations and prosecuting offenders.
Consequences for Refusing to Take Chemical Tests
Pennsylvania is an implied consent state. This means that you do have the right to refuse chemical testing but by doing so, you are automatically issued a suspension of your license:
- First offense – one year license suspension
- Second offense – 18-month license suspension
- Third offense – 18-month license suspension
Challenging BAC Levels in Court
In Pennsylvania, penalty tiers will vary based on the actual blood alcohol content (BAC) level of the driver at the time of the arrest:
- Drivers that are under the age of 21, .02 percent
- Drivers 21 years of age and older, .08 percent first tier, .16+ second tier
Is There Mandatory Jail Time Required for a DUI in Pennsylvania?
First time offenders are given some leeway in Pennsylvania, but all repeat DUI offenders are required to spend time in jail:
- First offense – no minimum jail time required (although circumstances may dictate a sentence by the presiding judge)
- Second offense – a jail sentence ranging between five days to six months
- Third offense – a jail sentence ranging between 10 days and two years
The lookback period in Pennsylvania is 10 years.
Monetary Fines and Penalties for DUI in Pennsylvania
Once again, first time offenders will see some of the least expensive fines in the country. However, repeat offenders can be sentenced to significant fines if the judge maxes out the penalty:
- First offense – $300 fine
- Second offense – fines can range from $300 to $2,500
- Third offense – fines can range from $500 to $5,000
License Suspension for DUI in Pennsylvania
Compared to other states in the country, Pennsylvania is by far one of the most lenient when it comes to actual license suspension terms for DUI convictions:
- First offense – no mandatory license suspension
- Second offense – one year license suspension
- Third offense – one year license suspension
All first time offenders having refused to take chemical tests are required to use an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) upon license being activated. Second and third offenders are required to use an IID during the restricted license period.
Do I Need a DUI Lawyer if Arrested in Pennsylvania?
While some individuals may look at the fines and penalties and figure it may be worth a shot to defend themselves, this is not recommended. Second and third offense penalties are significantly more in Pennsylvania and taking that first conviction puts you in danger of facing these penalties and fines if you are to violate the law again.
If arrested, you can find qualified, local attorneys on DUIRights.com. In addition to serving as a great resource for DUI laws, you can also submit your case for a free review and recommendations. This will give you a much better idea of how to proceed with the best chance of having your charges dismissed. Because “wet reckless” is not an option in Pennsylvania, we highly recommend securing a proper defense attorney instead of using a public defender or attempting to defend yourself in court.
Finding a DUI Lawyer in Pennsylvania
Some DUI arrestees will make the mistake of pleading out guilty on their first arrest, especially considering there is no license suspension and only minimal fines. This is a big mistake in Pennsylvania, as the fines and penalties increase significantly from that point. In addition, they are not often taking into account the personal and professional repercussions of a DUI arrest. If you are ready to fight your charges, or at least have the Free DUI Case Evaluation to decide on the best course of action.