Drinking and driving is a criminal offense that can be life altering in many ways. Not only is it extremely dangerous and completely avoidable – especially with such easy access to ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft – but it can also result in jail time, loss of driving privileges, and can be a huge hit financially.
So…you got a DUI. Now you’re facing court dates, charges, and more. Now you’re left wondering what is the penalty for your first DUI in Pennsylvania?
The penalties and fines that you might be faced with will depend on the facts and circumstances of what happened in your situation. Your BAC at the time that you were arrested may impact the penalty range. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, you can expect the following:
First Offense General Impairment Penalties (0.08% – 0.099% BAC)
First Offense High BAC Penalties (0.10% – 0.159% BAC)
First Offense Highest BAC Penalties (0.16% or Higher BAC)
First time offenders may be able to avoid jail time and reduce the amount of time their license is suspended by acceptance into a pretrial diversionary program known as Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition, or ARD. If admitted into the program, you will be required to participate in counseling, community service, as well as attend Alcohol Safety School. Upon successful completion of the terms of probation, including payment of all fees and costs, a defendant can petition the court to dismiss the charges and expunge your arrest record. Acceptance into the ARD program is at the discretion of the District Attorney and the Court.
Depending on how old you are, or what you do for a living, you may face even stricter DUI laws. Pennsylvania’s Zero Tolerance law means that the penalty for your first DUI will be much higher if you are under age 21. Minors found driving with even small amounts of alcohol in their systems (0.02% BAC) face the same penalties as an adult.
Commercial drivers, like bus or truck drivers, and others who make their living on the road also have to be careful. A first DUI conviction could carry severe penalties even at lower alcohol levels. Because these penalties include a license suspension, if you are a commercial driver even a first DUI could threaten your career.
Driving under the influence is not something that should be taken lightly and should be avoided at all costs, but if you are pulled over and charged with a DUI, contact our team of attorneys at Scartelli Olszewski, P.C. An experienced criminal defense attorney can make a world of a difference for your DUI charge, the penalties you receive, and the way your case is handled. You can reach us via phone at 570-346-2600.