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Will you go to jail for a first DUI offense in Pennsylvania?

On Behalf of | Feb 1, 2024 | DUI Defense

A common question among many first-time driving under the influence (DUI) offenders is whether they will go to jail if they’re convicted. While jail time is a real possibility following a DUI conviction, it all comes down to the circumstances of an offense. If you’ve recently been arrested, there is a chance you could go to jail even if it’s your first DUI offense in Pennsylvania.

Your blood alcohol content (BAC) level will primarily inform the applicable legal penalties if you are a first-time offender. In Pennsylvania, BAC levels are generally categorized into three different levels:

  • General Impairment (.08 to .099% BAC)
  • High BAC (.10 to .159% BAC)
  • Highest BAC (.16% and higher)

If your DUI case involves general impairment, you will not be subject to jail time unless there are aggravating circumstances that apply to your situation. However, the law provides for a prison term of 48 hours to 6 months for cases involving high BAC levels and 72 hours to 6 months for highest BAC levels. It is worth noting that there are other legal penalties involved with a DUI conviction besides jail time, such as probation and fines.

Other aspects of your case matter

As earlier mentioned, the particulars of your DUI offense will inform the subsequent penalties. For instance, the presence of aggravating factors like having a minor in the car at the time of your DUI arrest, refusing a breath or chemical test or causing an accident that results in serious injury or death may enhance your penalties as a first-time offender.

Reaching out for legal guidance when facing a DUI charge can help you get an informed evaluation of your situation, what is at stake and the possible defense strategies that can help you to achieve the most favorable outcome for your case possible under the circumstances.