What Happens to Your Pennsylvania Driver’s License After a DUI | Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys, LLC

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A DUI conviction can impact your life both now and in the future. Not only will you face steep fines and possible jail time, but your license will most likely be suspended. With a suspended license, you may be wondering how you’ll get to work and have a stable living.

Furthermore, the state requires additional costs associated with your DUI if you want to reinstate your license.

License Suspension and Cost Under Pennsylvania DUI Law

Pennsylvania operates under a three-tier system is broken down into:

  • Tier One – General Impairment (0.08% to 0.099%)
  • Tier Two – High Impairment (0.10% to 0.159%)
  • Tier ThreeHighest Impairment (0.16% and higher)

The tier you fall under will determine what happens to your license.

Tier One

With the first offense, there usually is no license suspension. However, second and third offenses result in a 12-month license suspension. You will also be required to install an ignition interlock device. This device requires drivers to perform a breathalyzer test before they start their car. If the device detects alcohol, the vehicle will not start.

Costs Associated Under Tier One

You are responsible for costs and fees associated with the interlock device. In Pennsylvania, those costs run between $75 and $105 monthly. In one year, you will have spent around $1,200 just to be able to start your car. In addition to this, you will be fined $300 for the first offense and up to $5,000 for the third offense. Fines for a second offense will fall somewhere in between.

If you own more than one vehicle and you plan to drive them, then each car will need an ignition interlock and the accompanying monthly fee

Tier Two

You immediately jump to tier two if you’re convicted of a DUI as one of the following regardless of your BAC:

  • CDL holder
  • School bus driver
  • Under the age of 21
  • Involved in a wreck

What Happens to My Driver’s License Under Tier Two?

First-time offenders under tier two will face a license suspension for 12 months. This includes installing an ignition interlock device for one year. Second and third offenses result in a license suspension for 12 to 16 months plus an ignition interlock device. Your license suspension is generally non-negotiable. Therefore, you must follow the rules of the suspension, or things can get a lot worse.

Costs Associated with Tier Two

Aside from the cost of the ignition interlock device stated above, first offenders will have fines of up to $5,000. Second and third offenders are required to pay fines of up to $10,000. This is on top of possible jail time.

Tier Three

Under tier three, first offenders will have their license suspended for 12 months. Second and third offenders result in a license suspension of 18 months. This includes drivers who refused chemical testing, used drugs, or used drugs in combination with alcohol.

The Costs Associated with Tier Three

Tier three penalties result in high costs. On top of extensive jail time, you will pay high fines. First offenders are required to pay a fine of up to $5,000. Second and third offenders must pay a fine no less than $1,500 to $2,500 plus fees involved with an ignition interlock device. When you add drugs into the situation, these penalties increase. This is especially true if drugs are used in combination with alcohol.

Schedule I, II, III, and IV drugs are Class I felony charges and include meth, ecstasy, cocaine, peyote, and others. Illegal trafficking of any of these drugs imposes penalties ranging from $5,000 to $250,000 along with jail time, and your license will be suspended. There are cases where you will not be eligible for license reinstatement.

How Do I Get My License Reinstated After a DUI?

Fortunately, Pennsylvania has a system in place for people convicted of DUI to go to and from work. It’s called an occupational limited license.

Requirements for an Occupational Limited License

You still have to complete a minimum license suspension based upon the Three Tier DUI system and pay all the fines before your license can be reinstated. So, there will be a period of time that you will not be able to drive to and from work, or even in an emergency.

You Will Need Proof of Insurance

Before your license can be reinstated, you will have to show proof of SR22 insurance for every vehicle you drive. However, SR22 is not actually insurance. SR22 is a certificate provided to the state by the insurance carrier stating that you have the minimum auto insurance required by law.

Increased Insurance Rates

These rates are much higher. If you don’t keep this in place for three years, the insurance company will alert the state, and your license will be suspended again.

If you drive someone else’s car and they don’t have SR22, or they don’t want to provide SR22 for you, then you will be required to have SR22 on their vehicle when you drive it.

What if Other Family Members Need Your Car?

Suppose you own multiple cars that other family members depend on for transportation. In that case, you can apply for a waiver that allows them to drive that particular vehicle while your license is suspended. Do not let anyone drive a car that you own without this waiver. If they are caught driving your vehicle while your license is suspended and you don’t have a waiver in place, your license suspension can increase.

Contact a DUI Lawyer Today

Although losing your license can alter your life significantly, there are still options to have it reinstated. It’s essential to understand the costs of reinstatement and what is required by law. A DUI lawyer can inform you on the options you have for reinstatement depending on your case.

This may include treatment programs, installing an ignition interlock device, or obtaining restricted driving privileges for a time. It is never a good idea to handle a DUI charge yourself. Contact our criminal justice lawyers in Pittsburgh, PA today for a free consultation.