In Pennsylvania, it is a serious crime to drive a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance. If you are found driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you have the potential of being charged with DUI. Your charges depend mainly on whether you are a first-time DUI offender or not. If you are a first-time offender, there are several different elements that will impact the severity of your sentence. The main element that determines what tier your DUI is considered is the ratio of your Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC). DUI as a minor The severity of your penalty depends on how high your BAC was at the time of the offense. Pennsylvania uses three different tiers to define the level of your impairment based on your BAC.

The lowest tier is known as general impairment. In order to be in this tier, you had a BAC between .08 and .099% rendering your incapable of safe driving. In addition, your DUI did not cause any injury or property damage. Penalties for this offense include up to six months probation, a fine of $300, $50 surcharge, $100 Substance Abuse Education and Demand Reduction Fund, treatment if/when ordered, and DUI school. Defending DUI You may also be eligible for Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD). After the general impairment tier comes the next tier.

The second tier of three is known as high impairment. In order for your DUI offense to fall under this tier, you had a BAC between .10 and 0.159%. If you are a minor, your BAC was between .02 and 0.159%. The penalties for this tier of a DUI include a prison sentence between two days and six months, license suspension for twelve months, fines between $500 and $5,000, $50 surcharge, $100 Substance Abuse Education and Demand Reduction Fund, treatment when ordered, and DUI school. You may be eligible for ARD and you are not required to have an interlock system installed on your vehicle.

Lastly, the highest tier is known as highest impairment. In order for your DUI offense to fall under this tier, your BAC was .16% or higher, you refused to take a chemical test, or you were driving under the influence of a controlled substance. Penalties for the highest tier include a prison sentence of a minimum of three days to a maximum of six months, license suspension for 12 months, fines between $1,000 and $5,000, $50 surcharge, $300 Substance Abuse Education and Demand Reduction Fund, treatment when ordered, and DUI school. You are not eligible for ARD, but you are also not required to have an interlock system installed on your vehicle.

If you have been charged with a DUI and it is your first offense, it is important to contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Although it is your first offense, it is still very serious. Receiving a DUI for the first time can be a scary experience. Meeting with a criminal defense attorney regarding your case will ensure that your case receives the best outcome possible.​