What Happens to First-time DUI Offenders In Pennsylvania? By Foley Law Firm on February 22, 2023

Alcohol, car keys, and handcuffsDriving under the influence significantly increases the risk of a car accident. Drunk driving accidents can result in catastrophic personal injuries and steep financial damages. To discourage drunk driving, Pennsylvania has strict penalties for individuals convicted of driving under the influence.

DUI penalties vary based on a person’s blood alcohol content (BAC) at the time of arrest, as well as any prior offenses for driving under the influence. Here, the personal injury lawyers from the Foley Law Firm, which serves individuals from Scranton, PA, Stroudsburg, PA, and Wilkes-Barre, PA, go over what happens to first-time DUI offenders in Pennsylvania, including potential criminal and civil penalties.

Jail Time or Probation

It is possible for first-time DUI offenders in Pennsylvania to be sentenced to jail time, but that is dependent on a driver’s general impairment or BAC. If the BAC can’t be determined or is between .08 and .099 percent, the driver is unlikely to face jail time. This penalty is classified as a misdemeanor and may result in probation of up to six months. Individuals with higher BAC levels are more likely to face jail time. At the highest level of offense (BAC of 1.6 percent or higher), there is a mandatory minimum of 72 hours in jail, with drivers facing a sentence of up to six months.


Fines are another penalty for first-time DUI offenders. The amount of the fine will likely depend on the driver’s level of impairment at the time of the arrest. Even at the lowest level of DUI impairment, drivers can expect a fine of $300.

Court-Ordered Treatment

In some cases, the court will order mandatory alcohol treatment for first-time DUI offenders. Court-ordered treatment is unlikely when the driver’s BAC is .099 percent or lower. However, when drivers have higher levels of impairment, court-ordered alcohol counseling or treatment becomes more likely.

License Suspension

The state of Pennsylvania has the right to suspend a person’s driver’s license if they are found guilty of DUI. First-time DUI offenders face a driver’s license suspension of up to 12 months. The court usually makes this determination based on factors such as:

  • BAC level
  • Prior charges
  • The type of license
  • Age of the driver (drivers under the age of 21 are likely to have their license suspended)

Civil Penalties

Jail time, probation, alcohol treatment, and license suspension are DUI penalties that are determined by the criminal court. If drunk driving causes an accident, drivers may face civil penalties as well. Individuals injured in a drunk driving accident have the right to sue the liable driver for all related economic and non-economic damages. Depending on the details of the accident, DUI offenders may be ordered to provide compensation for losses such as:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Diminished wage-earning capacity
  • Pain and suffering
  • Diminished quality of life
  • Wrongful death damages

Request a Consultation

If you have been injured in a drunk driving accident, you may be due financial compensation for the resulting damages. To discuss the details of your case with the personal injury lawyers at the Foley Law Firm, request a legal consultation online or call (570) 342-8194 as soon as possible.

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The attorneys of the Foley Law Firm provide committed personal injury representation to eastern Pennsylvania. Our firm is proud to be affiliated with prominent organizations, including:

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If you are looking for legal representation from a top-rated personal injury law firm in Scranton, call us at (800) 523-6539 or request a consultation online.

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