Driving under the influence is a serious offense in Pennsylvania. The state classifies DUI offenses into three different levels of criminal charges, and each level comes with its own set of penalties.
A DUI conviction at any of these levels can have a significant impact on a person’s life. It is important to understand the consequences associated with each.
General Impairment: The first tier of DUI offense
The first level of DUI in Pennsylvania is General Impairment. At this level, a person has a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% to 0.099%. For individuals aged 21 and older, this level of BAC is illegal when operating a motor vehicle.
Penalties for a Tier 1 DUI include fines of up to $300, probation for up to six months, alcohol highway safety school, mandatory drug and alcohol treatment and a license suspension of no less than one month. These penalties can increase for repeat offenders or if other aggravating factors are present.
High BAC: The second tier
High BAC applies to individuals with a BAC between 0.10% and 0.159%.
Penalties for a Tier 2 DUI include fines ranging from $500 to $5,000, mandatory alcohol highway safety school, mandatory drug and alcohol treatment, license suspension for 12 to 18 months and an ignition interlock device installation for one year.
Highest BAC: The third tier
The third and most severe level of DUI is Highest BAC, which applies to individuals with a BAC of 0.16% or higher. Penalties for a Tier 3 DUI include fines ranging from $1,000 to $5,000, mandatory alcohol highway safety school, mandatory drug and alcohol treatment, license suspension for 12 to 18 months, an ignition interlock device installation for one year and incarceration of up to five years.
Avoid DUI charges by putting safety first
One way to avoid any of the three levels of DUI in Pennsylvania is to avoid driving while under the influence of any impairing substance. Drivers should prioritize safety over everything else and rely on designated drivers, taxi cabs and ride shares to avoid driving while impaired.