Act 24, which became effective in 2003, lowered the legal limit of alcohol for Pennsylvania drivers from .10% to .08%.

However, the state uses the BAC level combined with prior offenses in creating penalties for DUI. What happens when you face conviction for a third DUI if you have a higher BAC level?

Facing penalties

If your blood alcohol content level is between .10% to .159%, the 2003 law brings harsh penalties. A third conviction for driving under the influence of alcohol is a first-degree misdemeanor, which can result in one to five years in prison, fines from $1,500 to $10,000, license suspension of 18 months and the installation of an ignition interlock device for one year. The court can also order you to participate in an alcohol education or treatment program.

Understanding other issues

Even if you do not have a high BAC, you could face the same penalties if you refuse to submit to breath or chemical testing, if you caused an accident that injured someone or if you drive a bus, commercial vehicle or school vehicle.

Planning a defense

Any DUI mark on your record can adversely affect the fulfillment of your current and future goals and it can color the perception others have of you. Keep in mind that administrative mistakes can surface during the examination of your arrest on suspicion of DUI and that tests are not always accurate. Planning an aggressive and successful defense includes conducting a thorough investigation of the circumstances surrounding the incident. You have every right to expect the best outcome possible for your case.