BAC Legal Limit in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania, along with every other state in the nation, has implemented DUI laws to deter the rates of drinking and driving. In order for authorities to prove impairment and constitute the crime of driving while under the influence, each state has adapted a legal limit. The legal limit, which is .08 in Pennsylvania, dictates that a certain quantity of alcohol in the system of a motorist causes impairment, and is therefore illegal. If officers discover that the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level of a defendant exceeds the legal limit, he or she will be charged with a DUI.

If you have been arrested and charged with a DUI, it's important you gain an understanding of your state's laws, and the potential penalties you will be obligated to face in light of a conviction. In addition to weighing the consequences, you'll hopefully come to the conclusion that legal counsel is the best and only option for those who intend on prevailing in a DUI case.

BAC Level

Pennsylvania authorities abide by what's called a “per se” law when suspecting and ultimately arresting people for a DUI. In the event that an officer claims to have a reasonable suspicion that you are impaired by alcohol, they can administer a breathalyzer, urine, or blood test for a motorist to take. The findings of these tests will reveal your BAC level.

If your BAC comes out to .08 or more, which is the equivalent of a few drinks for most people, you will be charged with a DUI. However, if an officer has reason to believe that you consumed drugs too, you can be arrested for having even a lower BAC result.

Testing must be conducted within two hours of the initial arrest. Motorists who refuse to comply with testing will be guilty of violating Pennsylvania's “implied consent law.” Refusing to test will warrant penalties of a lengthy license suspension.

Philadelphia's Three-Tier System

Philadelphia has adapted a three-tier system that determines the severity of a penalty based on the amount of alcohol in a person's blood. The three tiers and their penalties are as follows:

First Tier / General impairment (BAC of .08 to .099)

First offense

  • Up to six months of probation
  • $300 fine
  • Alcohol highway safety school
  • Drug or alcohol treatment (if ordered)

Second offense

  • Five days to six months in jail
  • A fine up to $2,500
  • 12-month license suspension
  • 1-year ignition interlock installation
  • Alcohol highway safety school
  • Drug or alcohol treatment (if ordered)

Subsequent Offenses

  • Ten days to two years in prison
  • A fine up to $5,000
  • 12-month license suspension
  • 1-year ignition interlock installation
  • Drug or alcohol treatment (if ordered)

Second Tier / High Impairment (BAC of .10 to .159)

First offense

  • Two days to six months in prison
  • Up to $5,000 in fines
  • 12-month license suspension
  • 1-year ignition interlock installation
  • Alcohol highway safety school
  • Drug or alcohol treatment (if ordered)

Second offense

  • 30 days to six months in prison
  • Up to $5,000 in fines
  • 12-month license suspension
  • 1-year ignition interlock installation
  • Alcohol highway safety school
  • Drug or alcohol treatment (if ordered)

Subsequent Offenses

  • 90 days to five years in prison
  • Up to $10,000 in fines
  • 18-month license suspension
  • 1-year ignition interlock installation
  • Drug or alcohol treatment (if ordered)

Third Tier / Highest Impairment (.16 or above)

First offense

  • Up to six months in prison
  • A fine of up to $5,000
  • 12-month license suspension
  • Alcohol highway safety school
  • Drug and alcohol treatment (if ordered)

Second offense

  • Up to five years in prison
  • A fine of up to $10,000
  • 18-month license suspension
  • Ignition interlock installation for one year
  • Alcohol highway safety school
  • Drug and alcohol treatment (if ordered)

Subsequent Offenses

  • Up to five years in prison
  • A fine of up to $10,000
  • 18-month license suspension
  • Ignition interlock installation for one year
  • Drug and alcohol treatment (if ordered)

Pennsylvania Criminal Defense Attorney

If you have been charged with a DUI, you don't have to plead guilty or take a plea deal to get these charges behind you. Having a DUI on your criminal record can keep you from finding a job, joining the military, and accessing certain rights. Don't go down without a fight. Contact skilled attorney Joseph D. Lento today for help.

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Attorney Joseph D. Lento has nearly a decade of experience successfully resolving clients' criminal charges in Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania counties. If you are having any uncertainties about what the future may hold for you or a loved one, contact the Lento Law Firm today! Criminal defense attorney Joseph D. Lento will go above and beyond the needs of any client, and will fight until the final bell rings.

This website was created only for general information purposes. It is not intended to be construed as legal advice for any situation. Only a direct consultation with a licensed Pennsylvania and New Jersey attorney can provide you with formal legal counsel based on the unique details surrounding your situation. The pages on this website may contain links and contact information for third party organizations – the Lento Law Firm does not necessarily endorse these organizations nor the materials contained on their website. In Pennsylvania, Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout Pennsylvania's 67 counties, including, but not limited to Philadelphia, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, Berks, Lancaster, Lehigh, and Northampton County. In New Jersey, attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout New Jersey's 21 counties: Atlantic, Bergen, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Essex, Gloucester, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Salem, Somerset, Sussex, Union, and Warren County, Outside of Pennsylvania and New Jersey, unless attorney Joseph D. Lento is admitted pro hac vice if needed, his assistance is educational advice, and does not constitute legal advice or the practice of law. The decision to hire an attorney in Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania counties, New Jersey, or nationwide should not be made solely on the strength of an advertisement. We invite you to contact the Lento Law Firm directly to inquire about our specific qualifications and experience. Communicating with the Lento Law Firm by email, phone, or fax does not create an attorney-client relationship. The Lento Law Firm will serve as your official legal counsel upon a formal agreement from both parties. Any information sent to the Lento Law Firm before an attorney-client relationship is made is done on a non-confidential basis.

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