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DUI & DWI in Pennsylvania

You may not realize this but it only takes 1 drink for a woman and 2 drinks for a man to be legally drunk in Pennsylvania. This means that a glass of wine at a family picnic or a drink with dinner may change the course of your life.

You may be able to avoid some of the damage by consulting with a Pennsylvania DUI attorney.

The consequences of a DUI conviction are serious. They include:

  • Criminal penalties
  • Loss of reputation in the community
  • Job loss
  • Professional licensure loss
  • Civil law suitsand losing everything you own

If you or a loved one has been arrested on a DUI charge in Pennsylvania, this article is for you. In the few minutes it takes you to read this article, you’ll learn:

  • Pennsylvania DUI laws
  • Pennsylvania DUI punishments
  • Potential DUI defenses
  • Pennsylvania’s other drunk driving and alcohol laws

When is a Driver Considered to be Legally Drunk in Pennsylvania – What are PA DUI Laws?

PA drunk driving laws are found in 75 Pa. C.S. В§ 3802.

  • In general, Pennsylvania drivers are considered to be legally drunk if they have a BAC (blood alcohol content) of .08 or more.
  • Commercial drivers are legally drunk if their BAC is .04 or higher.
  • School bus drivers are legally drunk with a BAC of just .02 or more.
  • Drivers under the age of 21 are legally drunk with a BAC of .02 or more.

What is Pennsylvania’s Punishment for DUI Convictions?

In Pennsylvania, DUI criminal punishments (75 Pa. C.S. В§ 3802) are based upon three factors:

  • Whether this is your first offense or a subsequent offense. Criminal penalties for subsequent DUI convictions increase in severity.
  • How high your BAC is. The higher the BAC, the harsher the penalty.
  • Whether you caused someone else’s death or bodily injury (75 Pa. C.S. §§ 3742 and 3742.1).

Common penalties include:

  • Jail Time
  • Fines
  • License Suspension
  • Alcohol Highway Safety School
  • Drug And Alcohol Treatment
  • Community Service,
  • Ignition Interlock

Pennsylvania Drunk Driving Defenses

Your DUI defense lawyer will carefully analyze your case to determine your best defenses. Here are 6 defenses that are commonly used.

  • The Breathalyzer results are erroneous and no second and independent test was administered.
  • The testing officer wasn’t certified to administer the test.
  • The medical personnel drawing blood didn’t follow protocol.
  • Police lacked probable cause to stop you.
  • You weren’t the one driving.
  • The trial judge offers incorrect jury instructions.

Pennsylvania’s Other Drunk Driving and Alcohol Laws

This is an excellent summary of PA’s drunk driving and alcohol related laws.

  • Pennsylvania Dram Shop Statute – a bar or restaurant can be held liable for injuries is that drinking establishment served a visibly drunk individual or a minor.

  • Pennsylvania Social Host Law – Adults who serve alcohol to minors can be held liable for injuries to that minor and any injuries that minor causes.

  • Furnishing Alcohol to a Minor – Any adult who serves alcohol to a minor is guilty of a 3rd degree misdemeanor that is punishable by up to one year in prison and a $2,500 fine. The minimum fine is $1,000 for a first offense.

  • Licensed Drinking Establishment Serving Alcohol to a Minor – The owner, operator, or server of a bar or restaurant that serves minors alcohol is subject to between 3 months and 1 year in jail and a fine of up to $5,000. The establishment’s liquor license may also be seized.

How to Find a Pennsylvania DUI Attorney

If you or a loved one has been arrested for DUI or in violation of any of Pennsylvania’s other drinking laws, your next step is to contact a Pennsylvania DUI defense attorney now. To find a PA DUI lawyer, you can search our website,, or ask friends or the bar association for a referral.

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