In Pennsylvania, lawmakers have set the legal blood alcohol content (BAC) limit at .02 for anyone under 21 and .08 for anyone that age or over. Those who exceed these run the risk of being arrested for driving under the influence (DUI). There are significant consequences to being arrested and charged with drunk driving in the state depending on which of the three tiers your offense falls under.

Pennsylvania Code § 3802(a) 1&2 refers to anyone who engages in unsafe driving or who tests as having a .08 to .10 BAC as a tier-one offender. Under Pennsylvania Code § 3804(a)(1-3), a first- or second-time offender is likely to be charged with an ungraded misdemeanor offense; however, someone with three or more tier-one violations will face a second class one.

Although there’s no statutory minimum sentence for first time tier-one offenders, the maximum is six months’ probation. Individuals convicted of second-tier DUI violations must spend at least five days in jail but could be ordered to spend as long as six months. Those with three or more convictions may be sentenced to anywhere from 10 days to two years imprisonment.

The amount of fines that tier-one offenders have to pay ranges from $300 to $5,000. Those with two or more convictions are almost always ordered to complete treatment programs as well.

A first-time tier one offender’s driver’s license isn’t generally suspended, but it can be revoked for up to 12 months for those with two or more convictions. The latter may also have an ignition interlock device installed on their vehicle for the same period of time.

Motorists may be charged with tier-two offenses if they’re involved in an accident while intoxicated, are driving school or commercial vehicles at the time that they’re stopped, are 21 or over with a BAC of .10 to .16 or under 21 with a .02 or higher one.

Those who consume drugs in addition to alcohol and who have BACs of .16 or higher can be charged with a tier-three offense.

The penalties are more severe the more serious the crime is. A conviction can impact your ability to remain in school, to obtain employment and to otherwise freely live your life. A DUI defense attorney can advise you of how your own penalties can vary based on the specifics of your case.