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First Offense DUI Penalties


Being charged with a First Offense DUI in Pennsylvania can be a nerve-wracking experience, most likely because this will be your very first interaction with the criminal justice system in your life. Most likely you will have a number of questions about the possible DUI penalties, such as:

  • Will I lose my driver’s license, and if so, for how long?
  • Will I go to jail?
  • How much will my fines be?
  • Will I have to attend safe driving school?
  • Will my insurance rates go up?
  • Will the arrest go on my permanent criminal record?
  • Will I be ordered to undergo treatment?
  • Did they also test me for any drugs in my system?

It is very important that you understand that just because this may be your first offense, it does not mean it’s “no big deal.” At this point, if you have been charged, the Commonwealth is seeking to prosecute you, and if you are convicted, the consequences can follow you forever. The penalties for a First Offense DUI in Pennsylvania are as follows:

First Offense DUI Penalties

The severity of a First Offense DUI conviction depends on how much alcohol was in your bloodstream when you were pulled over – called your Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC). The higher your BAC, the more severe the penalties.

There are three tiers of impairment based on your BAC according to law:

Tier One—General Impairment
  • BAC = .08 to .099%
  • Incapable of safe driving
  • No injury or property damage

Penalties—Ungraded Misdemeanor BENCH TRIAL ONLY

  • 6 month’s probation maximum
  • No license suspension
  • No mandatory jail time
  • Immediately eligible for ignition interlock
  • A fine of $300
  • $50 surcharge
  • $100 Substance Abuse Education and Demand Reduction Fund.
  • Drug & Alcohol Evaluation—Treatment when ordered
  • Alcohol safe driving program
  • ARD eligible
Tier Two—High Rate of Alcohol
  • BAC = .10 to 0.159%
  • If Underage BAC =.02 to 0.159%
  • With Accident BAC =.08 to .099%
  • School Bus Driver BAC = 0.02% to .159%
  • Commercial Vehicle BAC = .04 to 0.159%

Penalties—Ungraded Misdemeanor BENCH TRIAL ONLY

  • 2 days mandatory minimum and maximum sentence of up to 6 months prison
  • 12 months license suspension (Ignition Interlock eligible after 6 months)
  • Fines between $500 and $5,000
  • $50 surcharge
  • $100 Substance Abuse Education and Demand Reduction Fund.
  • Drug & Alcohol Evaluation—Treatment when ordered
  • Alcohol safe driving program
  • ARD eligible
Tier Three—Highest Rate of Alcohol
  • BAC = .16% or higher
  • Refusal of chemical test
  • Controlled substance DUI

Penalties—Ungraded Misdemeanor BENCH TRIAL ONLY

  • 2 days mandatory minimum and maximum sentence of up to 6 months prison
  • 12 months license suspension (Ignition Interlock eligible after 6 months)
  • Fines between $1,000 and $5,000
  • $50 surcharge
  • $300 Substance Abuse Education and Demand Reduction Fund.
  • Drug & Alcohol Evaluation—Treatment when ordered
  • Alcohol safe driving program
Other Important Things You Should be Aware Of
  • If you refuse to submit to a chemical test, your level of offense will automatically fall under the Highest Impairment (3rd Tier) category and you will face the highest penalties regardless of your actual BAC.
  • A DUI conviction – even a first offense – goes on your permanent, publicly accessible criminal record. Future employers, landlords, lenders, and anyone with an interest in your past will be able to access it – including your automobile insurance carrier. Drivers convicted of DUI will see a marked increase in their car insurance rates, often resulting in placement in an assigned risk program or can be outright dropped by their insurance carrier altogether.

The penalties that come with a first conviction for DUI are serious. If you find yourself accused of a First Offense DUI in Pennsylvania, the experienced DUI lawyers at Bompadre Law can help to minimize or altogether eliminate the charges against you. Attorney Bompadre is an aggressive attorney who is skilled in all aspects of Pennsylvania DUI law, and has extensive DUI training and certification, and has prosecuted DUI’s as both a former police officer and Assistant District Attorney. Contact Bompadre Law for your free initial case evaluation

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(484) 505-0188