Pennsylvania DUI Laws, Fines and Penalties

Learn about the penalties for a DUI conviction in Pennsylvania.

Need Professional Help? Talk to a Local Defense Attorney.

Enter Your Zip Code to Connect with a Lawyer Serving Your Area

searchbox small

What are the penalties for a DUI in Pennsylvania?

 

1st Offense

2nd offense

3rd Offense

Minimum Jail

No minimum jail time required

5 days jail to 6 months

10 days jail to two years

Fines and Penalties

$300

$300 to $2500

$500 to $5000

License Suspension

No

12 months

12 months

IID* Required

Yes, if refusal to take chemical test

Yes, during period of restricted license

Yes, during period of restricted license

  • Note: Pennsylvania has a series of penalty tiers, depending on the driver’s BAC. The tiers are .08, .10 to .159%, and .16 or higher.

Lookback Period: 10 years (Period of time that prior DUIs are relevant for sentencing)

*Interlock Ignition Device

How much do you have to drink (BAC*) for a DUI in Pennsylvania?

Under 21

.02%

21 or older

.08%

  • Note: Pennsylvania has a series of penalty tiers, depending on the driver’s BAC. The tiers are .08, .10 to .159%, and .16 or higher.

*BAC = blood alcohol content

How many drinks does it take? Check the BAC chart.

You may want to try our BAC Calculator, however I wouldn't let any results encourage you to drink and drive.

What are the penalties if you refuse to take a chemical test in Pennsylvania?

Pennsylvania has an implied consent law. That means that if you refuse to submit to a chemical test you will be subject to a fine and automatic license suspension. Learn more about Pennsylvania’s implied consent law

 

1st Offense

2d offense

3rd Offense

Refusal to take test

1 year license suspension

18 month license suspension

18 month license suspension

Disclaimer: We try to keep the information provided here up to date. However, laws often change, as do their interpretation and application. Different jurisdictions within a state may enforce the laws in different ways. For that reason, we recommended that you seek the advice of a local attorney familiar with DUI cases in your area.

Can you plead to a lesser offense than DUI in Pennsylvania?

No, a plea bargain for a conviction of "wet reckless" (reckless driving involving alcohol) is barred by statute in Pennsylvania.

What is an SSR-22? An SR-22 is a form filed by your insurance company demonstrating that you meet certain insurance requirements. Only an insurance company can furnish the SR-22. Often the SR-22 need only meet your state’s minium liability standards. In some cases, however, certain individuals may be subject to insurance coverage requirements that have higher limits and different coverage. To learn more, see Pennsylvania SR22 Insurance Requirement.

Drinking and Driving Laws in Pennsylvania

The State of Pennsylvania prohibits the operation of a motor vehicle by a driver with .08 percent or above blood alcohol concentration (BAC). The .08 BAC limit is the standard measurement used across the United States for the "impaired" driver. Pennsylvania has lower BAC limits for commercial drivers (.04 percent) and has a "zero tolerance" or .02 percent BAC for drivers under the age of 21. The Pennsylvania law also includes controlled substances such as marijuana, cocaine, inhalants and other intoxicants.

How many drinks does it take to reach the legal limit in Pennsylvania? Determining the number of drinks it will take for any individual to reach the .08 BAC limit depends on a number of factors. There are charts and calculators that can be used as a reference, however these tools do not take into account all variables in the BAC equation. It is safe to say that each drink you consume brings you that much closer to becoming a legally impaired driver.

The best answer is not to drink and drive. The State of Pennsylvania has strict laws for drunk driving, and when you drink and drive in Pennsylvania, you risk your freedom, finances and your future.

The first time you are arrested and convicted for drunk driving in the State of Pennsylvania you will receive 6 months probation and a $300 fine if your BAC was between .08-.99. If your BAC was from .10-.159 you will receive from 2 days-6 months in prison, a $500-$5,000 fine and a 12 month drivers license suspension. If the court allows, you may receive a restricted license after 60 days of your original suspension. If your BAC was above .16 you will face between 3 days-6 months in prison, a fine from $1,000-$5,000 and a 12 month drivers license suspension. If the court allows, you may receive a restricted license after 60 days of your original suspension.

The second time you are arrested and convicted for a DUI in the State of Pennsylvania you will receive 5 days -6 months in prison and a fine between $300- $2,500 if your BAC was between .08-.99. You will also receive a 12 month drivers license suspension. If your BAC was from .10-.159 you will receive from 30 days-6 months in prison, a $750-$5,000 fine and a 12 month drivers license suspension. If your BAC was above .16 you will face between 90 days-5 years in prison, a fine of $1,500 and a 18 month drivers license suspension. For all second and 3rd offenses you will be required to install an ignition interlock device on you vehicle for 1 year. You may also be ordered by the court to attend alcohol screening and rehabilitation.

The 3rd time you are arrested and convicted for a DUI in Pennsylvania you will receive 10 days -2 years in prison and a fine between $500- $5,000 if your BAC was between .08-.99. You will also receive a 12 month drivers license suspension. If your BAC was from .10-.159 you will receive from 90 days-5 years in prison, a $1,500-$10,000 fine and a 18 month drivers license suspension. If your BAC was above .16 you will face between 1-5 years in prison, a minimum fine of $2,500 and a 18 month drivers license suspension. For all second and 3rd offenses you will be required to install an ignition interlock device on you vehicle for 1 year. You may also be ordered by the court to attend alcohol screening and rehabilitation.

The Implied Consent Law in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania has what is known as an "Implied Consent" law. This law means that all drivers on the roadways of Pennsylvania agree to submit to a chemical test of their blood, breath or urine if an officer of the law suspects that they are under the influence of drugs, alcohol or both. If you refuse to submit to such a test, your drivers license will be suspended for 1 year on the first refusal. You are considered guilty of a DUI if you refuse a test and each time you refuse this test the penalty increases. Like many states, the refusal to submit to testing often brings on harsher penalties than an actual DUI.

Additional Information

by: , Attorney

Talk to a Lawyer

Start here to find defense attorneys near you.
HOW IT WORKS
how it works 1
Briefly tell us about your case
how it works 2
Provide your contact information
how it works 1
Choose attorneys to contact you
LA-NOLO4:DRU.1.6.1.20140626.27175