Pennsylvania DUI: Driver’s License Suspension
Pennsylvania is one of the many states that follows the Implied Consent rules and procedures. These rules and procedures indicate that anyone driving on the roads of Pennsylvania has given implied consent to submit to chemical testing of that driver’s breath, blood or urine if arrested by a police officer for a DUI. Drunk driving laws in Pennsylvania also follow the same mold of many other states by having two separate cases for people accused of driving under the influence (DUI) and those accused of refusing to provide samples for chemical testing. One case is a criminal case and the other is a civil case involving the person’s driver’s license.
The criteria for suspending a driver’s license is usually based on two factors: the blood alcohol content (BAC) of the driver and the person’s prior record of DUI convictions. These two items will determine if a person loses his license and for how long.
- BAC between.08% and .10% – If this is the first DUI offense for the driver it is possible that there will be no license suspension at all. For a second offense, or future offense, the license will be suspended for 12 months.
- BAC level between .10% and .16% – The first time a person is convicted for a DUI and the BAC is in this range then the license will be suspended for 12 months. For a second offense in this same BAC range, a conviction will also result in 12 months of suspension. For the third offense and beyond, the license will be suspended for 18 months.
- BAC equal to .16% and higher – The first offense carries a 12 month suspension. A second and subsequent offense each result in an 18 months suspension of a driver’s license.
For first-time offenders of the DUI statute, an occupational limited license (OLL) may be obtained after serving the first 60 days of the 12-month license suspension.
For offenders who are convicted of a second offense and receive an 18 month license suspension (see information above), an occupational limited license (OLL) may be obtained after serving the first 12 months of the 18-month license suspension. The driver must also place an ignition interlock device on the driver’s vehicle.
During a suspension period for refusing to submit to chemical testing, an occupational limited license (OLL) is not available.
Refusal of Test
Based on the implied consent laws, any person who refuses to submit to a BAC test faces a driver’s license suspension for 12 months the first time the test is refused. The suspension is enforced automatically by PennDOT once the police officer submits a DL-26 form. However, an appeal can be filed in the county where the DUI offense took place in order to challenge the police officer’s allegation that the driver refused to submit to testing.
Each time the person refuses a test on any subsequent arrest the suspension period is for 18 months.
Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) Program
For first time DUI offenders, Pennsylvania offers the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) program. This gives people a chance to serve a lesser punishment and avoid a lengthy court case. In order to be admitted to the program, the district attorney must approve the request. Inclusion into the ARD program for anyone charged with a first DUI is not guaranteed. A district attorney’s office can establish a number rules for exclusion from the program. If a defendant is denied admission into the ARD program, a motion to compel admission into the ARD program can be filed.
ARD allows people to possibly keep their licenses, to avoid time in jail and to eventually have a clean record.