Pennsylvania has faced significant scrutiny in recent years because of what many perceive to be rather lax DUI laws. At one time, Pennsylvania was only rated 1-star by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), but the state is now rated at 3-stars. That state has been changing its legislation to create stiffer penalties and fines for all offenders.
Pennsylvania DUI by the Numbers (based on 2012 overall numbers)
Pennsylvania has seen a sharp decrease both under-21 and 21 and older driving fatalities in during the survey years. However, the overall fatalities per 100,000 residents is still rather high at 3.2 as well as the under-21 rate, which is 1.3.
- 49,103 total DUI arrests (467 from under-18 drivers)
- 409 total alcohol-related fatalities (44 from under-21 drivers)
- 24.4 percent decrease in alcohol-related fatalities
- 38.4 percent decrease in alcohol-related fatalities for under-21 drivers
- 77 percent of fatalities involved a driver with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .15+
- 85.7 percent of repeat offenders had a BAC of .15+
DUI First Offense Penalties in Pennsylvania
Whereas many states have mandatory jail time and license suspension for first-time violations, Pennsylvania does not. This, along with mandatory ignition interlock device (IID) is where MADD would like to see improvements to Pennsylvania DUI legislation. Below are the fines and penalties as of this writing:
- Monetary fines up to $300
- No mandatory IID required unless chemical test was refused
- No mandatory jail time
- No mandatory license suspension
Pennsylvania is an implied consent state. Therefore, you can refuse to take any chemical tests required, but your license will be suspended for a period of one year and you will have to use an IID when you get your license back.
These penalties and fines are based on the first level of violations in Pennsylvania (.08 blood alcohol content, or BAC). Additional fines and penalties are in place for violators at different levels. These levels are:
- .08 percent BAC
- .10 percent BAC
- .159 percent BAC
- .16 percent BAC
Should You Hire a DUI Attorney if Arrested and Charged in Pennsylvania?
Some individuals will look at the rather timid penalties for first-time offenders and try to plead the case out on their own. However, this can be a mistake because of the significant increase in fines and penalties for repeat offenses. For instance, a second offense can face a maximum of six months in jail, a one-year license suspension, and a $2,500 fine. For more information about DUI laws or to find a Pennsylvania DUI lawyer, fill out the Free DUI Arrest Evaluation Form Now!
Taryn J. White is a legal research specialist and DUI law news reporter. Her current accomplishments include helping those facing any driving under the influence arrest charges, get free online assistance in learning how to fight a DUI case for the best possible outcome.