In Pennsylvania, there are some harsh penalties for drinking and driving convictions. Pennsylvania is different than some states because it categorizes DUI charges in tiers. Those tiers include blood alcohol concentration levels of .08 to .99%, .1 to .159% and .16% or greater.
These tiers will affect how you’re penalized if you’re convicted for drinking and driving. The tier program affects your sentence, whether you will lose your license and if you can be eligible for alternative sentencing through the Alternative Rehabilitation Disposition Program.
What penalties will a first-time offense result in?
General impairment happens in the first tier. A first-tier conviction leads to up to six months on probation, $300 in fines and a requirement to go to an alcohol safety school. If treatment is ordered, then it’s a requirement.
Next, higher penalties are in place for those with a blood alcohol content (BAC) between .1 to .159%. The basic penalties for a first-time offender include fines of up to $5,000, required alcohol safety school, treatment when it’s ordered and up to six months in prison. You may also lose your license for up to 12 months through an administrative suspension.
The final tier, .16% and greater, is called the highest BAC tier. It also applies to controlled substance DUIs. In this tier, you face up to six months in prison, up to $5,000 in fines, alcohol highway safety school, a 12-month suspension of your license and will need to go to treatment when it’s ordered.
These penalties are harsh, so it’s important to talk to your attorney about reducing the penalties you face or helping defend yourself completely against the charges, so you don’t end up with a conviction.