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Pennsylvania DUI charges are misdemeanors, but serious

Pennsylvania laws take a harsh stance on drunk driving. Anyone who is found to have a blood alcohol concentration of .08 percent or higher is subject to criminal charges. The exact penalties you are facing depend on your actual BAC and any prior offenses you have on your record.

There are three DUI levels in Pennsylvania. Highest BAC encompasses BACs of .16 percent and above. High BAC includes BACs of .10 to .159 percent. General impairment includes BACs of .08 to .099 percent. The BAC is determined by chemical testing. Failing to comply with requests for these tests can lead to increased penalties.

At the lowest, DUI charges are ungraded misdemeanors that can lead to a $300 fine and up to six months on probation. At the highest, which is a highest BAC with two or more prior DUI offenses, you would face a first-degree misdemeanor that could lead to one to five years in prison, an 18-month license suspension, and a fine of up to $10,000. Treatment and an ignition interlock are also possible with this conviction.

When it comes to DUI charges, school bus drivers, commercial drivers, minors and those who were involved in an accident that included property damage or injuries can face enhanced charges. This means that you might be charged for a higher level DUI than what would be required based on your BAC.

All of these DUI charges are serious even though they are misdemeanors. You can face collateral consequences, such as higher insurance premiums, if you are convicted of drunk driving charges. You should learn about what options you have because simply ignoring the charges isn't going to help your case at all.

Source: Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, ".08 DUI Legislation," accessed Sep. 15, 2016

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