Pennsylvania is a unique state in that it doesn’t have an aggravated DUI, per se. Instead, it has three categories for DUIs, which consist of general impairment, high BAC and highest BAC. These categories break down by total alcohol in the blood by percentage.
What is general impairment?
General impairment happens when a blood alcohol concentration test comes back at .08% to .099%.
What is a high BAC?
A high BAC is when a person’s test comes back with a BAC of .10 to .159%.
What is the highest BAC?
The highest BAC is when a person’s BAC comes back at .16% or more.
Why does your BAC matter?
Your BAC affects you because the penalties change as the BAC increases. For example, general impairment penalties include up to $300 in fines, alcohol highway safety school, treatment when ordered, up to six months on probation and a misdemeanor if it’s a first offense. Comparatively, a first offense in the highest BAC bracket comes with up to $5,000 in fines and up to six months in prison. This may also result in a 12-month suspension of your license and a misdemeanor.
In other states, an aggravated offense is usually over .16%, but Pennsylvania has broken down the categories further.
Will a high BAC result in an ignition interlock device being mandated?
Drivers don’t necessarily need to have an IID installed in their vehicle, even if they’ve been convicted of a DUI. Pennsylvania generally requires an ignition interlock device upon a second or subsequent offense. So, if you had a DUI in the past, you may be asked to use an IID. Since 2003, the law has also changed, so you cannot add an additional year of suspension in place of an IID. You will need that device before you can regain your driving privileges.
Your DUI may affect you in many ways. It’s important to learn more and to be prepared if you have to go to court to defend yourself against the DUI charges. With support, it may be possible to minimize these penalties, keep your license and protect your rights.