First Offense DUI/DWI

What you need to know

Even if it is your first DUI offense, you can still face very serious penalties including fines and even jail time.  In Pennsylvania, a three-tiered system is used to establish penalties according to the person's blood alcohol content ("BAC") as well as the number of previous DUI offenses the person has.  Other factors are also considered and will be further explained. 

 

Here are the general guidelines and sentencing that apply to a first offense DUI charge (other factors involving the specific offense may affect these guidelines):

Tier 1 DUI

"General Impairment"

75 Pa.C.S. § 3802(a)

  • BAC: .08-.099

  • First Offense: 

    • Misdemeanor​ (ungraded)

    • Sentence: Probation

    • Fine: $300

    • License Suspension: None

Tier 2 DUI

"High Rate"

75 Pa.C.S. § 3802(b)

  • BAC: .10-.16%

  • First Offense: 

    • Misdemeanor​ (ungraded)

    • Sentence: Jail - 48 hours to 6 month max.

    • Fine: $500 min. to $5,000 max.

    • License Suspension: 1 year

Tier 3 DUI

Highest Rate"

75 Pa.C.S. § 3802(c)

  • BAC: .16% and above

  • First Offense: 

    • Misdemeanor​ (ungraded)

    • Sentence: Jail - 72 hours to 6 month max.

    • Fine: $1,000 min. to $5,000 max.

    • License Suspension: 1 year

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Other factors are important following a DUI arrest including circumstances surrounding the arrest including whether there was an accident, underage children in the vehicle, and other factors that could affect your case.  There are important steps you should take to preserve your rights with a DUI arrest including asserting your 5th amendment privileges which allow you to remain silent.  Again, anything you say to the arresting officer can and will be used against you in your DUI case.

Following your arrest, you will promptly (within 2-3 days) be arraigned of your charges.  An arraignment hearing is required to inform the defendant of their rights and the specific criminal charges they are facing.  

 

Following the arraignment, a preliminary hearing (within 30-60 days) will be scheduled.  A preliminary hearing is one of the most steps in the process and can usually influence whether your case is going to trial and if so, how good your chances are of prevailing at trial.  It is imperative that you retain an experienced DUI attorney prior to your preliminary hearing.  At the preliminary hearing, your attorney will have the opportunity to cross examine the arresting officer and/or any witnesses.  The preliminary hearing is the first opportunity to evaluate the veracity of the DUI charges that you are facing so it is of the upmost importance to have attorney representation.

 

Again, it is imperative that you contact an experienced DUI defense attorney as soon as possible after your arrest.  These cases move quickly and time is of the essence.  The prosecution is working on your DUI case from the second you are pulled over so you need someone working for you as soon as possible.  Contact our office if you need more information or explore our other pages for more information regarding DUI's in Pennsylvania.

 

Disclaimer

We are providing this information as a public service.  We try to make it accurate as of the date noted in the materials.  However, the laws are constantly changing and we cannot promise that this information is always up-to-date and correct.  As such, please contact our office and speak with a lawyer to get the most accurate information about your case.

We do not intend this information to legal advice.  By providing this information, we are not acting as your attorney and again, if you need legal advice, you should contact our office and speak with a an attorney.  Always speak to a competent lawyer before taking any legal action.

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