Pennsylvania DUI Laws

Being convicted of a DUI has proven to have an adverse effect on just about every aspect of an individual's life. It can hinder your chances of finding a job, tarnish your reputation, severely limit your ability to freely commute from place to place, and even land you a jail or prison sentence. If you have been charged with a DUI, it's important you understand what you're up against. This article will address Pennsylvania DUI laws and penalties, and the significance of retaining a skilled and seasoned criminal defense attorney to advocate for you.

DUI Laws in Pennsylvania

Most people are aware that it is illegal to drink and drive. In order to be convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol, a person must have a recorded blood alcohol concentration (BAC) that is over the illegal limit. The BAC limit in Pennsylvania is:

  • .02 or higher for motorists under 21
  • .04% for commercial motorists
  • .08% for anyone else

As you can see, the rules are stricter for certain demographics of people. Traffic crashes are the number one cause of death for teenagers in the United States, and alcohol has been cited as a major contributing factor in these fatal accidents. Therefore, the state has zero tolerance for people under the age of 21 who are caught drinking or having any kind of drugs in their system while behind the wheel.

Motorists who hold a Commercial Driver's License (CDL) in Pennsylvania are held to higher expectations than non-commercial drivers in practically every regard, but this is especially true when these standards pertain to impaired driving. The state has a low tolerance for commercial drivers who are charged with DUIs and will not hesitate to suspend or even revocate a CDL in addition to the traditional punishments imposed as a result of this offense.

Other DUI-Related Laws

Besides the enforcement of common DUI legislation that most people are aware of, like driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, there are other laws in relation to a DUI that may lead to a conviction. The implied consent law and the state's open container law are two understated, yet highly enforced laws that the average Pennsylvania motorist may be oblivious to until it is too late.

Implied Consent Laws

A driver has violated the state's implied consent law when he or she has blatantly refused to submit a blood, breath or urine test per the request of a police officer. This law is commonly accidentally violated due to the fact that drivers aren't aware that they automatically grant consent for testing when they register their vehicle. Therefore, when a test is requested, consent is assumed or implied. For refusing to comply with testing, a driver will ultimately be subjected to a fine and an automatic license suspension for at least one year.

Open Container Laws

Under Pennsylvania law, neither drivers nor passengers are allowed to have an open alcoholic beverage stored in a vehicle. It's important to note that the consumption of said alcoholic drink is not relevant in these cases. A violation of the state's open container law is a summary offense that includes monetary fines and a potential license suspension.


There is a myriad of penalties that can be imposed upon the conviction of a DUI in Pennsylvania. But fortunately for some motorists, the penalties on the harsher side of the spectrum are not enforced unless prior offenses have accrued, or they have been found to have an excessively high quantity of alcohol or drugs in their system through testing. People who have been charged with a DUI for being generally impaired may be facing the following penalties:

First offense

  • Up to six months of probation
  • $300 fine
  • Alcohol highway safety school
  • Drug or alcohol treatment (if ordered)

Second Offense

  • Five days to six months in jail
  • A fine up to $2,500
  • 12-month license suspension
  • 1-year ignition interlock installation
  • Alcohol highway safety school
  • Drug or alcohol treatment (if ordered)

Subsequent Offenses

  • Ten days to two years in prison
  • A fine up to $5,000
  • 12-month license suspension
  • 1-year ignition interlock installation
  • Drug or alcohol treatment (if ordered)

Pennsylvania Criminal Defense Attorney

As you can see, acquiring DUI charges in the state of Pennsylvania is no joke. Most people in this situation understand that there is way too much at stake to not retain legal counsel. LLF Law Firm has extensive experience successfully representing clients who have acquired misdemeanor and felony DUI offenses, and they can do the same for you. Contact them today for help at 888-535-3686.

Contact Us Today!

The LLF Law Firm Team has decades of experience successfully resolving clients' criminal charges in Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania counties. If you are having any uncertainties about what the future may hold for you or a loved one, contact the LLF Law Firm today! Our Criminal Defense Team will go above and beyond the needs of any client, and will fight until the final bell rings.

This website was created only for general information purposes. It is not intended to be construed as legal advice for any situation. Only a direct consultation with a licensed Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York attorney can provide you with formal legal counsel based on the unique details surrounding your situation. The pages on this website may contain links and contact information for third party organizations - the Lento Law Firm does not necessarily endorse these organizations nor the materials contained on their website. In Pennsylvania, Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout Pennsylvania's 67 counties, including, but not limited to Philadelphia, Allegheny, Berks, Bucks, Carbon, Chester, Dauphin, Delaware, Lancaster, Lehigh, Monroe, Montgomery, Northampton, Schuylkill, and York County. In New Jersey, attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout New Jersey's 21 counties: Atlantic, Bergen, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Essex, Gloucester, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Salem, Somerset, Sussex, Union, and Warren County, In New York, Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout New York's 62 counties. Outside of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, unless attorney Joseph D. Lento is admitted pro hac vice if needed, his assistance may not constitute legal advice or the practice of law. The decision to hire an attorney in Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania counties, New Jersey, New York, or nationwide should not be made solely on the strength of an advertisement. We invite you to contact the Lento Law Firm directly to inquire about our specific qualifications and experience. Communicating with the Lento Law Firm by email, phone, or fax does not create an attorney-client relationship. The Lento Law Firm will serve as your official legal counsel upon a formal agreement from both parties. Any information sent to the Lento Law Firm before an attorney-client relationship is made is done on a non-confidential basis.