Pennsylvania's Drug DUI Laws and Penalties

The penalties and evidence requirements of a drug-related DUI in Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania’s DUI laws—which also apply to drunk driving—prohibit driving or being in actual physical control of a vehicle while:

  • under the influence of drugs to the extent that it impairs your ability to safely drive, or
  • having any amount of a controlled substance (including heroin, marijuana, inhalants, and amphetamines) in your blood.

In other words, a person can get a DUI based on actual impairment or the concentration of drugs in his or her blood.

Criminal Penalties

The penalties and classification for a drugged driving conviction generally depend on the number of prior offenses the offender has that occurred within the last ten years. A conviction will be a misdemeanor for a first offense, a first-degree misdemeanor for a second offense, and a felony if a third offense.

1st Offense

2nd Offense

3rd Offense

Jail

72 hours to 6 months

90 days to 5 years

1 to 5 years in prison

Fines

$1,000 to $5,000

$1,500 to $10,000

$2,500 to $10,000

License suspension

12 months

18 months

18 months

The judge can also order up to 150 hours of community service and require the offender to participate in a DUI victim’s impact panel.

Treatment

All offenders must submit to an alcohol and drug evaluation prior to sentencing. The judge is supposed to take into consideration the results and recommendations of the evaluator and will generally require the offender to complete any recommended treatment programs. For first and second offenders, the “Alcohol Highway Safety School” program is required.

Minor Passengers

Offenses involving a passenger under 18 years come with additional penalties. In addition to the above-listed penalties, the judge will order 100 hours of community service and $1,000 in fines. For a second offense involving a minor passenger, there’s an additional $2,500 fine and one to six months in jail. A third offense with a minor passenger is six months to two years in prison on top of the normal penalties.

Ignition Interlock Device

All offenders must install and maintain an ignition interlock device (IID) for one year prior to license reinstatement. However, the driver can get limited driving privileges after serving half of the suspension period by installing the IID at that time.

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