Since 2003, the legal blood alcohol limit in the state of Pennsylvania has been .08%. However, the penalties that you could face if charged with drunk driving depend on your level of impairment and other factors in the case.

State law recognizes three levels of impairment

If your blood alcohol content is between .08% and .099%, you are considered to be generally impaired. If your BAC is between .10% and .159%, you are considered to have a high BAC. A BAC that is over .159% comes with the harshest possible penalties including up to six months in prison and a fine of up to $5,000 for a first offense. A person could also face these penalties if they are driving under the influence of a controlled substance or cause bodily injury.

The penalties for a general or high BAC impaired driving charge

Those who are charged with a general impairment DUI could face a fine of up to $300 as well as six months on probation for a first offense. If you have a previous DUI on your record, the fine could increase to $2,500, and you could also be ordered to have an ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle.

A conviction on a high BAC charge could carry penalties such as a minimum of 48 hours in jail for a first offense and a $5,000 fine. The jail term could be increased to at least 30 days if you have a previous DUI. Your license will also be suspended for 12 months for a first or second offense.

If you have been charged with a DUI, it may be a good idea to consult with an attorney. An attorney may be able to help get a charge reduced or eliminated completely. In the event that a case is dismissed, it might be possible to have the case sealed. This may make it easier to find work or housing after the case has been resolved.