Does BAC level affect DUI penalties?

If you get a DUI conviction in Pennsylvania, you may face significant fines and license suspensions. You may incur certain consequences for a first offense and more severe penalties for subsequent violations. However, your punishment may also depend on the level of your blood alcohol content at the time of your arrest.

You may get detailed information on the Pennsylvania DUI law from the state’s Department of Transportation. According to PennDOT, the DUI law separates violations into three categories of BAC: General Impairment, High BAC and Highest BAC. If you have a BAC of 0.08% to 0.099%, you may fall into the General Impairment category. In this case, a first offense may incur up to six months of probation and a $300 fine. However, if you get your first DUI conviction for a BAC of 0.10% to 0.159% (High BAC), you may lose your license for a year, get fined up to $5,000 and spend some time in jail. A conviction in the Highest BAC category (0.16% or more) may lead to more jail time and higher fines.

Certain actions may lead to penalties from higher categories than your actual BAC indicates. For example, if you are a commercial driver, bus driver or minor, you may get High BAC penalties even if your actual BAC does not fall into that category. You could also see more consequences if you get into an accident while driving under the influence. If you refuse to take a BAC test, you may get penalized according to the Highest BAC category. Highest BAC penalties may also apply if you get a conviction for driving under the influence of a controlled substance.

This general information about DUI penalties and BAC levels is not intended to provide legal advice.