Go to navigation Go to content

Pennsylvania DUI Law

About a third of Pennsyvania’s 1,488 highway fatalities involved a driver who was over the legal limit.  310 of those fatalities involved a driver who was at least twice the legal limit. 

Legal Limits

Pennsylvania has four levels of impairment:

  • Driving while impaired to the extent that you cannot safely operate a vehicle (no minimum limit)
  • Driving while intoxicated – BAC between .08 and .10.
  • High rate of alcohol – BAC of between .10 and .16.
  • Highest rate of alcohol – BAC of greater than .16.

Additionally, those under 21 are not allowed to drive with a BAC of higher than .02.

For Commercial Drivers, the legal limit is .04.

For School Bus Drivers, the legal limit is .02.

Penalties

Driving While Impaired or Intoxicated:

  • First Offense: 
    • $300 Fine
    • Minimum 6 months of probation
    • Attend Alcohol Highway Safety School
  • Second Offense:
    • $300 – $2,500 Fine
    • Minimum 5 days in jail
    • Attend Alcohol Highway Safety School
  • Third and Subsequent Offenses
    • $500 - $5,000 Fine
    • Minimum 10 days in jail

High Rate of Alcohol, Under 21, School Bus Drivers, and Commercial Drivers

  • First Offense
    • $500 - $5,000 Fine
    • Minimum 48 hours in jail
    • Attend Alcohol Highway Safety School
  • Second Offense
    • $750 - $5,000 Fine
    • Minimum 30 days in jail
    • Attend Alcohol Highway Safety School
  • Third Offense
    • $1,500 - $10,000 Fine
    • Minimum 90 days in jail
  • Fourth and Subsequent Offenses
    • $1,500 - $10,000 Fine
    • Minimum 1 year in jail

Highest Rate of Alcohol

  • First Offense
    • $1,000 - $5,000 Fine
    • Minimum 72 hours in jail
    • Attend Alcohol Highway Safety School
  • Second Offense
    • Minimum $1,500 Fine
    • Minimum 90 days in jail
    • Attend Alcohol Highway Safety School
  • Third and Subsequent Offenses
    • Minimum $2,500 Fine
    • Minimum 1 year in jail

Community Service

At the court’s discretion, up to 150 hours of community service may be attached to any offender’s sentence.

Victim Impact Panels

At the court’s discretion, the defendant may be required to attend a victim impact panel.  This is a non-confrontational session with the friends, family, and neighbors of drunk driving victims.  The program may also involve a fee.

Ignition Interlock System

If a person has had their license suspended and petitions the court for restoration of his driving privileges the court will require the installation of an ignition interlock system for the duration of the driving restriction.  The system will be calibrated so that the car will not start if the breath test shows a BAC of greater than .025.

If you are required to use an ignition interlock system and are caught driving a car without one, the penalty is a $300 - $1,000 fine and/or up to 90 days in jail.  The same penalty applies for tampering with an ignition interlock system.

If you are required to use an ignition interlock and are caught driving a car without one AND have a BAC of greater than .025, the minimum fine is $1,000 and the minimum jail time is 90 days.

Drug and Alcohol Assessments

All offenders of in Pennsylvania are required to undergo Drug and Alcohol Assessment in order to determine which sentence would be the most beneficial to the individual and to the state.

License Suspension

The following violations result in an 18 month license suspension: 

  • Driving under the influence (lowest limit) with one or more prior offenses and causing the death or bodily injury of another
  • Refusing a chemical test and driving under the influence of a controlled substance or driving with the highest rate of alcohol (BAC over .16).

All other violations under the code result in a 12 month license suspension.