Will you go to jail for a DUI in Pennsylvania?

| Dec 4, 2020 | Drunk Driving |

If you were pulled over in a DUI traffic stop, you will likely fear the consequences your charges could come with. Some people convicted of DUI offenses end up spending time in jail, which is an outcome you will want to avoid at all costs. Yet, you may fear this is impossible, given the circumstances surrounding your offense. By reviewing Pennsylvania’s DUI sentencing laws, you can understand whether jail time is likely in your case.

General impairment offenses

In Pennsylvania, DUI convictions can lead to jail time depending on your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) and your number of prior offenses. The state grades DUI severity on three levels, being general impairment, high BAC and highest BAC.

If your BAC registered between 0.08% and 0.099% during your traffic stop, it will qualify as general impairment. A first-time general impairment offense does not usually carry a jail sentence, unless you refuse breath or chemical testing or have a controlled substance in your system. Yet, if you have one prior DUI offense on your record, you could spend between five days and six months in jail. With two or more prior offenses on your record, you could face a jail sentence between 10 days and two years.

High BAC offenses

A high BAC, under Pennsylvania law, falls between 0.10% and 0.159%. If you registered a high BAC during your first DUI offense, you could spend at least 48 hours in jail. If you have one prior DUI offense, you could serve a jail sentence of at least 30 days, though no more than six months. And if you have two or more prior DUI offenses on your record, you could spend between 90 days and five years in jail.

Highest BAC offenses

Pennsylvania reserves its harshest DUI penalties for motorists with BACs of 0.16% or greater. If your BAC registered at this level during a first-time offense, you could spend at least 72 hours in jail. If you have one or more prior offenses, though, you could face a jail sentence between 90 days and five years.

Many DUI offenses lead to jail time in Pennsylvania, and you will want to do everything in your power to fight for alternative consequences. Depending on your case, you may qualify for state programs that could reduce your sentence and keep your charges off your record. A criminal defense attorney can help you weigh your options for mitigating your penalties.