First DUI Offense
Being human means making mistakes, even when we strive for perfection. Unfortunately, one of these mistakes could result in a DUI charge, which can have a detrimental impact on both personal and professional lives, regardless of whether it’s a first offense. Across the United States, police officers and state troopers are cracking down harder on DUI, meaning even those without previous offenses may face severe consequences.
First-Time DUI Penalties
Let’s take a closer look at the penalties for a first-time DUI offense in Pennsylvania. The classification of the offense depends on the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at the time of arrest:
- General Impairment: This applies when a person’s BAC is between .08 and .09 percent. Consequences may include potential jail sentences of up to six months and fines of up to $300.
- High BAC: Referred to as “High BAC,” this applies when a person’s BAC ranges from .10 to .159 percent. Penalties for this offense may include imprisonment for two days to six months, a suspended license for 12 months, and fines ranging from $500 to $5,000.
- Highest BAC: This term is used when a person’s BAC is .16 percent or higher. Penalties for this offense may include imprisonment for 72 hours to six months, a 12-month license suspension, and fines ranging from $1,000 to $5,000.
For a first-time offense classified as General Impairment, there is no mandatory incarceration or license suspension. However, the individual may be required to attend Alcohol Highway Safety School, be on probation for up to six months, and pay fines of up to $300. Recent changes in the law also require the installation of an ignition interlock device for some first-time DUI offenders following a conviction.
An ignition interlock device is similar to a breathalyzer and is attached to a person’s car ignition system. The driver must blow into the device, and if it detects alcohol above the legal limit, the vehicle will not start. If the person’s BAC is below the legal limit, the ignition will start the engine. One of the primary purposes of this device is to allow those convicted of DUI to retain their driving privileges, which often means keeping their employment intact.
Refusing a breathalyzer at the time of your arrest can lead to significant consequences that can drastically change your circumstances. In such situations, you may be required to install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle for a whole year, thus restricting your driving privileges. Moreover, if your Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) was classified as High or Highest, you may face mandatory license suspension, along with imprisonment and higher fines.
Are There Alternatives to Conviction in a First-Time DUI Case?
Facing a first-time DUI charge can feel overwhelming, but there are alternatives to consider that can keep your record clean. Probation and deferred verdicts may be viable options for eligible offenders. By successfully completing the probationary period without additional charges, the offense can be expunged. Additionally, in certain circumstances, first-time DUI offenders in Pennsylvania may qualify for the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) program. This program offers the opportunity to have their record expunged upon successful completion.
If you or someone you know faces a first-time DUI charge in or around Washington, don’t hesitate to seek guidance from an experienced Washington PA criminal attorney. The Logue Criminal Defense team proudly serves Washington, PA, and the surrounding areas, including West Virginia and Ohio. Contact us today for a free initial consultation with a skilled Washington PA criminal lawyer from Logue Law Group. You can reach us at 844.PITT.DUI or (412) 389-0805, or visit our website.
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