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How long can a driver lose their license after a DUI conviction?

Several different aspects of a Pennsylvania driving under the influence (DUI) charge can negatively affect someone’s life. Obviously, a conviction that leads to someone’s incarceration could affect everything from their education and employment to their living arrangements.

A conviction can also potentially cost someone their driver’s license. In Pennsylvania, the law sometimes requires the suspension of an individual’s driver’s license after an impaired driving conviction. Losing a license can be highly inconvenient, as people must rely on others, rideshare services or public transportation to handle aspects of daily life.

It can also be frustrating or outright embarrassing to be unable to drive. How long could someone lose their license if they plead guilty to a DUI charge in Pennsylvania?

Every case has different consequences

Factors including how much someone had to drink and their prior arrest history can influence the penalties possible in a Pennsylvania DUI case. The judge presiding over someone’s trial has a degree of discretion when they decide what penalties to impose.

A first DUI that does not involve a particularly high blood alcohol concentration (BAC) may not lead to a license suspension at all. Someone with no prior convictions and a BAC between 0.08 and 0.99% could avoid a license suspension. However, a second offense with a similar BAC could lead to a 12-month license suspension.

Someone with a BAC between 0.10 and 0.159% could also face a 12-month suspension for a first-time DUI. High BAC offenders and those under the influence of drugs, not alcohol, could also face a 12-month suspension even for a first offense.

Occasionally, drivers may also be subject to a requirement to install an ignition interlock device (IID) in their vehicles after a DUI conviction. They have to absorb the cost of the device installation and could be at risk of additional penalties should they attempt to drive with an elevated BAC.

A loss of driving privileges can affect not only the person accused of the DUI but also their employer and their family. For many people, the licensing penalties are one of the strongest incentives to fight DUI charges. Learning more about how Pennsylvania handles impaired driving cases may help those who are deciding what to do after a recent arrest to make more informed choices.


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