Driving Under the Influence in Pennsylvania

DUI laws in PA

Presently, DUI laws in PA define a 3-tire system of penalties based on BAC (blood alcohol concentration) measured at the time of the arrest and no later than within 2 hours after operating the vehicle. Correspondingly, Tier 1 imposes the mildest set of punishments, Tier 3 with the most severe. However, other factors, such as presence or absence or property damage and personal injury as a result of DUI also matter and may be a basis for transferring the DUI offense to a higher category with more severe set of penalties, for example from Tier 1 to Tier 2 or Tier 2 to Tier 3. In addition, there are special categories of drivers with lower maximum allowable BAC levels, which affects which punishment tire they fall into. The range of punishment within each Tire also varies, being the mildest for 1st time DUI offenders, more severe for 2nd time offenders and most strict for those who get arrested to DUI in PA for more than 2 times.

DUI laws in PA: Tier 1

Tier 1 is also known as Lowest Penalty imposed on drunk drivers with BAC .08-.099, and no associated personal injury or property damage (except for drivers under 21 age and commercial drivers).

Tier 2 offenders are imposed the following PA DUI penalties.

DUI laws in PA: Tier 2

Tier 2 is also known as Higher Penalty is imposed on drunk drivers with BAC .10-.159, and associated personal injury or property damage. Even those drivers who have Tier 1 offense level with the BAC .08-.099 may be transferred to Tier 2 if there was resultant personal injury or property damage. A special category of drivers are commercial drivers, who fall into Tier 2 with BAC level at leas of above .04% BAC, and drivers under age 21, who also fall into Tier 2 with BAC levels at or above .02% will also be considered Tier 2.

Tier 2 offenders are imposed the following PA DUI penalties.

DUI laws in PA: Tier 3

Tier 3 is known as the Highest Penalty for DUI in PA imposed on the highest BAC level offenders (BAC .16 And Above). A Blood Alcohol Concentration of .16% or greater that is measured within 2 hours of operating a motor vehicle will land you in a Tier 3 status. Other offenders that fall into Tier 3:

  • anyone who refuses to have their BAC measured
  • any illegal drug offenders
  • any if prescription drug offenders without a valid prescription

Tier 3 offenders are imposed the following PA DUI penalties.

Historical Notes on DUI laws in PA

Tne most significant changes over the past years in DUI laws in PA occurred in late 2003 - early 2004. In October 2003, maximum allowable BAC was lowered from .10% to a .08%. A few months later, a new three tier set of penalties was introduced for those who commit DUI in PA.