Since 2004, Pennsylvania courts punish drivers convicted of a DUI according to the severity of the intoxication as measured by BAC. The presence of past offenses also will impact sentencing guidelines.
This tiered approach to DUI enforcement and treatment includes several provisions that allow for higher penalties depending upon exacerbating factors.
A look at the levels of DUI
According to the Pennsylvania Department of Motor Vehicles, state law establishes three categories of driving while under the influence. The main determining factor depends upon a person’s BAC level.
- The first category, known as General Impairment, includes drivers with a .08% to .99% BAC.
- The next category, High BAC, covers drivers with a .10 to 1.59% BAC
- The highest category, Highest BAC, covers drivers with a BAC OF 1.60% and higher.
Each category carries its own set of penalties, depending upon factors such as the number of prior DUI convictions. Fines and potential jail time increase with the BAC level and the number of prior offenses. In nearly all cases, the courts require attendance at a highway safety school and have the power to order treatment.
A glance at license suspensions
A DUI conviction carries with it many consequences for drivers, including the possible loss of driving privileges. A first-time offense with a BAC level below .10% might not result in a license suspension, depending upon specific criteria; however, all other DUI offenses will result in a driver suspension for at least 12 months or more.
The laws allow some discretion in penalties and fees in cases involving minors, commercial drivers, and personal injuries, to name a few. Individuals looking at a DUI charge should understand the seriousness of a DUI conviction.