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Is a DUI a Felony in Pennsylvania?

is a dui a felony in pennsylvania

Is a DUI a felony in Pennsylvania? If you were recently arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol, it’s probably the question you’re asking yourself. A conviction for DUI in Pennsylvania can carry serious and long-lasting consequences, so it is critical that you understand your rights and options when you are facing a DUI charge. Having an experienced DUI defense attorney representing you can also make the difference in avoiding the most serious consequences of a DUI arrest and conviction.

Pennsylvania’s Three-Tier System

In Pennsylvania, DUIs are normally charged as misdemeanor. The grading of the misdemeanor charge for DUI is based on the commonwealth’s three-tier system, which increases the grading of the offense based on your blood alcohol content and how many prior DUI convictions you have.

If you have an undetermined BAC or a BAC of .08 to .099 percent, you may be facing charges of:

  • If no prior DUI offenses – an ungraded misdemeanor with a potential sentence of up to six months’ probation and $300 fine
  • One prior DUI offense – an ungraded misdemeanor with a potential sentence of five days to six months in jail and a $300 to $2,500 fine, along with a 12-month license suspension and one-year ignition interlock requirement
  • Two or more prior DUI Offenses – a second degree misdemeanor, with a potential sentence of 10 days in jail to two years in prison, and a fine of $500 to $5,000, along with a 12-month license suspension and one-year ignition interlock requirement

If you are arrested with a BAC of .10 to .159 percent, you might face misdemeanor charges including:

  • No prior DUI offenses – an upgraded misdemeanor, with a jail term of 48 hours to six months, a $500 to $5,000 fine, and a 12-month license suspension
  • One prior DUI offense – an ungraded misdemeanor, with a jail sentence of 30 days to six months, a fine of $750 to $5,000, a 12-month license suspension, and a one-year ignition interlock requirement
  • Two prior DUI offenses – first degree misdemeanor, with a prison term of 90 days to five years, a fine of $1,500 to $10,000, 18-month license suspension, and a one-year ignition interlock requirement
  • Three or more prior DUI offenses – a first degree misdemeanor, with a prison sentence of one to five years, a $1,500 to $10,000 fine, 18-month license suspension, and a one-year ignition interlock requirement

Read more: What Happens If You Refuse a Breathalyzer Test in Pennsylvania?

If you are arrested with a BAC of .16 percent or higher, or controlled substances in your system, you may face charges of:

  • No prior DUI convictions – an ungraded misdemeanor, with a jail sentence of 72 hours to six months, a $1,000 to $5,000 fine, and a 12-month license suspension
  • One prior DUI conviction – a first degree misdemeanor, with a prison sentence of 90 days to five years, a $1,500 to $10,000 fine, an 18-month license suspension, and a one-year ignition interlock requirement
  • Two or more prior DUI convictions – a first degree misdemeanor, with a one to five year prison term, a fine of $2,500 to $10,000, an 18-month license suspension, and a one-year ignition interlock requirement

Any DUI conviction can also subject you to the requirement to attend alcohol highway safety school, along with alcohol or drug addiction treatment if ordered by the court.

Read more: Can I Be Arrested for A DUI in Pennsylvania if I’ve Taken Prescription Medication?

When Can a DUI Be Charged as a Felony in Pennsylvania

Under certain circumstances, a DUI offense may be charged as a felony in Pennsylvania. In particular, you may be charged with a felony if, while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you commit an assault by auto or vehicular homicide.

Read more: Right to Buy Firearms Could Disappear with Second DUI Conviction in Pennsylvania

Contact an Experienced Erie DUI Defense Attorney About Your Drunk Driving Charges in Pennsylvania

Have you been charged with a DUI in Pennsylvania? A drunk driving conviction could leave you with a permanent record, and it could result in your driver’s license being suspended for a very long time. That is why it is imperative that you speak with a qualified DWI defense lawyer about your case. The lawyers at Purchase, George & Murphey, P.C. represent clients charged with drunk driving, breath test refusal, and related offenses in Millcreek, Harborcreek, Fairview, Meadville, and throughout Pennsylvania. Call (814) 833-7100 or fill out our confidential online contact form to schedule a free consultation about your case. We have an office located at 2525 W. 26th St., Erie, PA 16506, in addition to offices located in Meadville and North East.

The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.

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Mr. George and his entire office staff were very kind and helping me through my first ever experience with the law. He was able to get me exactly what he said he would in the outcome of my trial. The entire staff was very informative and kept me up to date on everything. Very pleased with my experience and would most definately recommend him to others.

Allison, July 8, 2017