Will I lose my license if I am arrested for DUI in Pennsylvania?

People charged with drunk driving in Pennsylvania could face a lengthy license suspension, depending on the circumstances of the incident.

Any drunk driving-related charge in Pennsylvania should be taken seriously, as the consequences could be devastating and even life-altering. Depending on the circumstances, drivers could face time in prison, jail fines, mandatory rehabilitation and participation in an alcohol education program.

It is also possible that the person's driver's license would be suspended or even revoked. There are several different ways someone's driver's license could be affected, and anyone arrested on charges should know what the potential outcomes could be.

First-time offenders

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Motor Vehicles, people who are charged with drunk driving and have a blood alcohol concentration of between 0.08 and 0.099, and who have no prior DUI offenses, will not have their license suspended. They are, however, placed on probation. This only applies to situations in which there are no other aggravating factors, however, as causing an injury or fatality could mean stricter penalties.

Multiple offenders

Having a prior DUI offense on record means that someone convicted of a subsequent DUI faces harsher penalties. Two or more drunk driving offenses equates to a 12-month suspension for drivers whose BAC is between 0.08 and 0.099.

Higher BAC offenses

Pennsylvania imposes stricter consequences when it comes to people who have a high blood alcohol concentration, which is defined as between 0.10 and 0.159. For first and second offenses, the license suspension period is 12 months. Someone with a high BAC and two or more DUI offenses faces an 18-month license suspension.

Controlled substance and highest BAC

Someone who is driving while under the influence of a controlled substance, or who has a BAC of 0.16 or higher, faces a 12-month license suspension on even the first conviction. Having one or more prior offenses could result in an 18-month license suspension.

Implied consent

In Pennsylvania, anyone who obtains a driver's license consents to having a breath or blood test taken should a law enforcement officer suspect DUI. However, people are permitted to refuse the tests, though there are consequences. Refusing a test results in a one-year license suspension, with an 18-month suspension for second or third offenses.

Temporary privileges

The state recognizes that some people must be able to drive in order to get to work or perform other duties. Therefore, there is an ignition interlock program which grants people who have a second or subsequent DUI the ability to drive as long as they install an ignition interlock device on the vehicle.

Maintaining the ability to drive is critical for many people. Anyone who has questions about this topic should speak with a criminal defense attorney in Pennsylvania.