Law Office of Vanessa M. Nenni, PC
Past President of the Lehigh County Bar Association
Located in Bethlehem, PA
Serving Northampton, Lehigh, Carbon, Monroe and Surrounding Counties
610-861-5100

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Pennsylvania DUI Law

Experienced DUI Representation

Don't let a DUI charge affect your permanent record. You could be looking at serious jail time if you are convicted. This is why you need the experienced services of Vanessa M. Nenni, PC to help you through this difficult time. Contact our law office today to schedule your appointment and discuss the details surrounding your DUI charge.
The U.S. Supreme Court recently decided a trio of cases collectively referred to as Birchfield v. North Dakota (136 S. Ct. 2160) which has dramatically changed the way DUI cases are handled in many counties in Pennsylvania including Northampton, Lehigh, Monroe and Carbon.

In Birchfield, the Supreme Court considered whether a State may criminalize a driver if he or she denies a blood test to measure his or her blood alcohol content (BAC). These cases occurred in States that have “implied-consent” laws that make it a separate crime to refuse to submit to a blood test when arrested for suspicion of DUI. Simply put, implied consent laws state that if you choose to operate a motor vehicle on a roadway, the vehicle operator impliedly agrees to submit a blood sample when law enforcement asks that you do so.

While Pennsylvania does not make your refusal a separate crime, there are enhanced criminal and civil penalties in Pennsylvania that may apply. The Supreme Court in its Birchfield decision held that motorists may not be criminally punished for refusing to submit to a blood test. That is, enhanced “criminal” penalties such as additional jail time are not permitted. It does not however, preclude enhanced “civil” penalties such as an increased driver’s license suspension. 

In order to make sure that you don't get entangled in the legalities of the DUI law, you need to make sure that the lawyer you hire is experienced in this area of law. So, contact the offices of Vanessa M. Nenni, PC right away for accurate legal representation.

DUI in Pennsylvania

Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) Defined

Pennsylvania utilizes a three-tiered definition for DUI based on a driver's BAC: 
  • General impairment: 0.08% to 0.099%
  • High BAC: 0.10% to 0.159%
  • Highest BAC: 0.16% and up OR a controlled substance
Penalties

Penalties for DUI are broken down by the BAC level. Those who refuse a chemical test or are found to be under the influence of a controlled substance will face the highest BAC penalties. The courts also have the option of adding 150 hours of community service to any and all DUI or test refusal charges. 

Tier I - General Impairment BAC 0.08% to 0.099%

1st offense: 
  • 6 months of probation
  • $300 fine
  • Mandatory alcohol highway safety school
  • Alcohol and drug treatment
2nd offense: 
  • Driver's license suspended for 1 year
  • 5 days to 6 months in prison
  • Fine ranging $300 to $2,500
  • Mandatory alcohol highway safety school
  • Alcohol and drug treatment
  • Ignition Interlock system for 1 year
3rd offense
  • 2nd degree misdemeanor charge
  • Driver's license suspended for 1 year
  • Prison from 10 days to 2 years
  • Fine ranging $500 to $5,000
  • Alcohol and drug treatment
  • Ignition Interlock system for 1 year
Tier II - High BAC 0.10% to 0.159%

1st offense: 
  • License suspended for 1 year
  • 48 hours to 6 months in prison
  • Fine ranging $500 to $5,000
  • Mandatory alcohol highway safety school
  • Alcohol and drug treatment
2nd offense: 
  • Automatic driver's license suspension for 1 year
  • 30 days to 6 months in prison
  • Fine ranging $750 to $5,000
  • Mandatory alcohol highway safety school
  • Alcohol and drug treatment
  • Ignition Interlock system for 1 year
3rd offense: 
  • 1st degree misdemeanor charge
  • Automatic license suspension of 18 months
  • 90 days to 5 years in prison
  • Fine ranging $1,500 to $10,000
  • Alcohol and drug treatment
  • Ignition Interlock system for 1 year
4th offense (and subsequent offenses): 
  • 1st degree misdemeanor charge
  • Automatic suspension for 18 months
  • 1 to 5 years in prison
  • Fine ranging $1,500 to $10,000
  • Alcohol and drug treatment
  • Ignition Interlock system for 1 year
Tier III - Highest BAC 0.16% and over OR Controlled Substance

1st offense: 
  • License suspended for 1 year
  • 72 hours to 6 months in prison
  • Fine ranging $1,000 to $5,000
  • Mandatory alcohol highway safety school
  • Alcohol and drug treatment
2nd offense: 
  • 1st degree misdemeanor charge
  • Automatic suspension of 18 months
  • 90 days to 5 years in prison
  • Fine ranging $1,500 to $10,000
  • Mandatory alcohol highway safety school
  • Alcohol and drug treatment
  • Ignition Interlock system for 1 year
3rd offense (and subsequent offenses): 
  • 1st degree misdemeanor charge
  • Automatic suspension of 18 months
  • 1 to 5 years in prison
  • Fine ranging $2,500 to $10,000
  • Alcohol and drug treatment
  • Ignition Interlock system for 1 year

Under 21 years of age? Pennsylvania has a “Zero Tolerance Law”

Those convicted of a DUI under the age of 21 years old will: 
  • Have their license will be suspended for 1 year
  • Go to jail for 2 days to 6 months
  • Be fined $500 to $5,000

Accelerated Rehabilitation Disposition (ARD)

First offenses for high or highest BAC may qualify for the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) program. If you are accepted into the ARD program, you will be required to attend 12.5 hours at the Alcohol Highway Safety School as well as enroll in drug or alcohol treatment facilities. You will also face a license suspension for up to 90 days, be under court supervision for 6 months, and also be liable to pay all fees involved and also pay a fine ranging from $300 to $5,000. 

Underage Drinking 

Pennsylvania takes underage DUI very seriously. In order to discourage minors from drinking and driving they have instituted tough laws to combat the underage drinking plague. If you are under the age of 21 and are caught drinking, you will face these minimum penalties: 
  • A $500 fine
  • Court costs
  • Driver's license suspension: 
  1. 1st offense: 90 days
  2. 2nd offense: 1 year
  3. 3rd and subsequent offenses: 2 years

If you do not have a license at the time of being charged with underage drinking, you will be prevented from applying for one until your suspension time is over. 
Experience Caring Legal Counsel from Our Attorney
Discuss your DUI case with our experienced attorney. Call us right away. 
610-861-5100
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