If you’ve been arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) in Chester County, PA, you’re probably hearing a lot of advice, and tips from people you know who have been in the same position. They may be telling you all about the penalties you’re facing if convicted, like fines, probation, and possible incarceration. While family and friends are just trying to be helpful, they’re not always familiar about how the law applies to your specific situation. Misinformation about whether you’ll go to jail for a Chester County DUI can sometimes do much more harm than good.

Instead of relying on questionable advice from others, trust Skinner Law Firm to defend you. We have in-depth knowledge about the relevant statutes and extensive experience representing clients in DUI matters, so we can provide reliable information on potential punishment.

If you’ve been charged with a DUI in West Chester, Phoenixville, Exton, Wayne, Kennett Square, Oxford, Coatesville, or anywhere in Chester County, please contact our office at (610) 436-1410 to set up a no-cost consultation with a skilled West Chester DUI attorney today.

What are Pennsylvania’s DUI laws?

Pennsylvania law uses the term “Driving After Imbibing Alcohol” to describe drunk driving, and the statute implements a tiered approach to these cases. The three classifications of impairment vary based upon your blood alcohol content (BAC) level:

  1. General impairment at .08% – .099%;
  2. High BAC, which is .10% – .159%; and,
  3. Highest BAC, at .16% or above.

This structure also takes into account your prior DUI history, if any. Together, your BAC and previous DUI convictions are the basic factors that determine the potential punishment you face if convicted. Note that there may be additional implications in the presence of other circumstances, such as causing an accident that causes injuries or death of another person.

What Happens for a First Drunk Driving Conviction?

A first DUI at the general impairment level is an Ungraded Misdemeanor. This means you face up to six months’ probation and a $300 fine. For a high BAC first-time drunk driving conviction, you could be incarcerated for 48 hours at minimum; a highest BAC means imprisonment for at least 72 hours. The fines for high and highest BAC DUIs may range from $500 – $5,000.

Jail time for Subsequent DUIs

For your second DUI conviction, your potential sentence could include the following escalated penalties:

  • Five days to six months for general impairment;
  • At least 30 days and up to 180 days if you were at the high BAC level; and,
  • A minimum of three months and a maximum of five years for the highest BAC.
    • A third DUI also depends upon your BAC when charged. With two prior drunk driving convictions in your history, the offense becomes a First- or Second-Degree Misdemeanor. Your sentence could range from 10 days to two years in prison, even for the lowest level of general impairment. For a high or highest BAC, a judge may issue sentence between 1-5 years. In addition, any subsequent DUI conviction will increase your fines significantly, possibly up to $10,000 in some cases.

      Are There any Other Consequences?

      Besides fines and potential jail time, there are additional implications if you’re convicted for drunk driving in Pennsylvania. With the exception of a first-time DUI at general impairment level, your driver’s license will be suspended for a minimum of one year. Plus, the court may require you to participate in alcohol treatment and highway safety courses, and you’re responsible for the fees.

      With high level BAC and subsequent convictions, you may also need to install an ignition interlock device (IID) on your vehicle. This device prevents the engine from starting if it detects alcohol when you blow into it. Again, you must pay the costs for installation and monthly service fees.

      Contact a Chester County DUI Lawyer to Discuss Your Options

      While the penalties and consequences for a DUI conviction can be intimidating, there is a lot an experienced attorney can do to improve your circumstances. At the Skinner Law Firm, we are driven to achieve the best possible outcome in any DUI case, which can help you avoid or reduce jail time as well as the various collateral effects to your license and everyday life.

      Call (610) 436-1410 today for a free, initial consultation with Chester County attorney Michael Skinner.

Article Author

Michael J. Skinner, the founder of Skinner Law Firm LLC, is a former prosecutor with the Chester County District Attorney’s Office.

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