Pennsylvania DUI Sentencing Guidelines
First or Repeat Offenses | General Impairment Penalties | High Rates of Alcohol | Misdemeanors | Felonies
If you have been arrested and charged with drinking and driving in Pennsylvania, you need to be aware of the new sentencing guidelines. The penalties can vary significantly, based on whether this is your first offense or a repeat offense, as well as on the level of alcohol in your blood. This page provides an overview of the new sentencing guidelines. You need an experienced attorney to protect your rights throughout the process.
At the Law Offices of John E. Kusturiss Jr. in Media, we take a strong stance on behalf of individuals in eastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey, who have been charged with DUI. Attorney Kusturiss has more than 30 years of criminal law experience. Attorney Kusturiss is a former prosecutor, who knows firsthand how the state prepares DUI cases and can anticipate the moves prosecutors will make to seek a conviction. We have the experience, knowledge and skill to quickly review the facts and circumstances of your case and help you decide if it is in your best interests to see a plea agreement or to fight for your rights in court.
We are experienced trial lawyers who handle civil as well as criminal cases. We have recovered million-dollar judgments for a number of clients who have suffered personal injury. Let us use our experience, ability, knowledge and resources to protect your rights. Contact our office online or call us at (610) 565-0240 for an appointment. Serving Media, Springfield, Chester, Upper Darby, Ridley Park, Newtown Square, & Havertown, PA.
Understanding the Penalties Under Pennsylvania’s New DUI Laws
The new sentencing guidelines look first at the level of alcohol in your blood, establishing three categories:
- General impairment—You can be charged with general impairment if your BAC (blood alcohol content) is at least .08%, but less then .10%
- High rate of alcohol—You can be charged with driving under the influence of a high rate of alcohol if your BAC is at .10%, but less than .159%. Minors will be charged with a high rate of alcohol if their BAC is at least .02%. CDL holders and school bus/vehicle drivers face high rate of alcohol charges if they have a BAC of .04% or higher.
- Highest rate of alcohol—If your BAC is .16% or higher, you will be charged with driving under the influence of the highest rate of alcohol. You will also be charged at this level if you have any controlled substances in your blood or if you refuse to take a blood alcohol test.
Once your blood alcohol level has been established, the possible sanctions depend on how many times you have been charged with drunk driving. Though DUI is always considered a misdemeanor, the grade of misdemeanor will depend on both the level of alcohol and how many times you have been convicted of DUI.
First Offense DUI
If you have never been convicted of drunk driving before, the penalties are less severe. For a general impairment conviction, you face a mandatory $300 fine, up to six months probation, and attendance at Alcohol Highway Safety School. You will also be required to complete a Court Reporting Network (CRN) evaluation, which may result in an order of further treatment. Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) is an option after a first offense. There is no license suspension for a general impairment, but you face a one year suspension for a high or highest rate conviction. There are also mandatory jail terms for high or highest rate convictions. Fines for high and highest rate convictions can be anywhere from $500 to $5,000.
Second and Third DUI Convictions
ARD is no longer an option when you are a repeat offender. Your license will be suspended for a minimum of 12 months and can be suspended for up to 18 months. You also face a mandatory one year ignition interlock. Alcohol Highway Safety School and CRN evaluations are required, and fines range from $300 to $5,000. Mandatory jails sentences can be five days to five years. You can also be placed under house arrest, though eligible for work release.
The penalties for subsequent convictions are comparable to penalties for a third conviction.
CONTACT THE LAW OFFICES OF JOHN E. KUSTURISS, JR.
At the Law Offices of John E. Kusturiss, Jr., we provide a free initial consultation to anyone charged with DUI. To schedule a private meeting with an experienced Pennsylvania DUI defense lawyer, contact us online or call us at (610) 565-0240. Evening or weekend appointments can be arranged upon request. We accept Visa, MasterCard and Discover, including debit cards.