As a college student, chances are you have consumed alcohol at parties. Even when you are over 21 and out with your friends, it is important to be responsible and avoid driving under the influence (DUI). Penn State is holding a mock DUI scenario on April 4 to remind students about the consequences of drunk driving. Apart from devastating injuries and fatalities, a DUI can result in severe fines, jail sentences and other repercussions. Learn about the penalties for drunk driving in Pennsylvania.
All DUI criminal penalties vary depending on the driver's blood alcohol content (BAC). Penalties for a first-time DUI with a BAC between 0.08 percent and 0.099 percent are a $300 minimum fine and six months of probation. With a BAC between 0.10 percent and 0.159 percent, there is mandatory incarceration ranging from two days to six months and fines between $500 and $5,000. Enhanced penalties for a BAC higher than 0.16 percent are incarceration from three days to six months and fines between $1,000 and $5,000.
If you get a second DUI within 10 years of a prior conviction, the criminal penalties are harsher.
● 0.08 percent to 0.099 percent BAC: Between five days and six months in jail and fines between $300 and $2,500.
● 0.10 percent to 0.159 percent: Between 30 days and six months in jail and fines between $750 and $5,000.
● 0.16 percent and higher: Between 90 days and five years in prison and fines between $1,500 and $10,000.
Along with incarceration and fines, there is required community service, alcohol safety school and the potential for treatment and installation of an ignition interlock device.
Pennsylvania has an implied consent law, meaning you are required to take a chemical test if a police officer suspects you are driving under the influence of alcohol. Refusing to take the test results in an automatic one-year license suspension for a first offense and increases to 18 months for repeat offenses.
It is important to remember the consequences of a DUI, not just for others, but yourself too. It is important to know various jurisdictions may enforce laws differently and each individual case is unique. If you have been charged with a DUI, it is essential you seek advice from a local criminal defense attorney for the best chance at a favorable resolution. An attorney can advise you about your case and whether your charges can be dismissed, or if the impact of your charges can be minimized.