A drunk driving arrest is a stressful event. You may wonder how your family will react or whether you’ll lose your job. There is certainly a lot to consider as you’re riding in the back of the squad car, but there’s one thing that should be at the front of your mind: your driving privileges.
Depending on the circumstances and any prior drunk driving convictions, you could lose your driver’s license for one year or more. Think about the potential impacts of you being unable to drive. How would you drive to work, run errands, or even hang out with friends? If you have young children, this could complicate getting them to school or extracurricular activities.
What Pennsylvania law says
First off, it’s important to remember the legal blood alcohol content (BAC) limit in Pennsylvania is .08 percent. Generally, if you receive a DUI with any prior convictions, you’ll likely lose your license for at least 12 months. The penalties for first-time drunk driving offenses are as follows:
- BAC of .10 percent or less: No driver’s license suspension but a court could order a $300 fine, six months’ probation and participation in an alcohol treatment program.
- BAC of .10 percent to .159 percent: In addition to a 12-month suspension of your driving privileges, you could face up to six months in prison and a $5,000 fine.
- BAC of .16 percent or more: This level of drunk driving also carries a 12-month suspension and up to six months in prison and a $5,000 fine.
Each of these charges are misdemeanors on your permanent record. Your criminal record can affect your ability to find work or housing, so it’s important to limit blemishes like drunk driving charges. Accruing further violations results in steeper penalties that can further tarnish your record.
If you’re convicted of drunk driving, you should react quickly with a good defense strategy to preserve your driving privileges. Your driver’s license is your independence and people may rely on you for transportation. That’s why protecting your driving privileges after a drunk driving conviction is so important.