What Happens to My License After a DUI Charge in Pennsylvania?

Possible License Suspension and DUI in Pennsylvania

Having a few drinks at a bar and driving home may be commonplace in Pennsylvania, but if you are charged with DUI in PA, or driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the consequences and penalties of a DUI arrest in Pennsylvania can be shocking and last a lifetime.

The reality is that you may very well lose your license for well up to a year or more, spend time in jail and face a criminal record available for the public to see—including potential employers, college admissions personnel, insurance companies, banks and loan officers and even  landlords. In addition to losing your license, your auto insurance will most likely increase as well.

However, being charged with DUI does not necessarily mean you will be convicted. It is important to speak with a DUI Attorney about all possible options in defending your rights to reduce your sentence or have your charges dismissed completely.

What Happens After a DUI Arrest? Will PennDOT Take My License?

After being charged with DUI in Pennsylvania, many people wonder what will become of their license—how they will get to work or drop their kids off at school?

There are a couple options that can help you recover your license faster:

For many first-time DUI offenders in PA the ARD Program is a good option, if you are eligible.

The Ignition Interlock program may also be an option, which can shorten the amount of time your license is suspended.

The length of time you may lose your license depends on whether this is a first DUI or second DUI, and also on your Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) level at the time of the arrest, and whether you submitted or refused a chemical test.

PennDOTS’s License Suspensions Guidelines According to BAC Level (Blood Alcohol Content)

Driver’s License Suspensions are imposed as follows:

  • BAC below .10% and incapable of safe driving: No suspension for first offense if the driver meets certain criteria; 12 month license suspension for second or subsequent offense.
  • BAC greater than or equal to .10% and less than .16%: 12 month license suspension for first and second offense. 18 month suspension for third or subsequent offense.
  • BAC greater than or equal to .16%: 12 month license suspension for first offense. 18 month suspension for second or subsequent offense.
  • Out-of-state DUI convictions: No suspension for first offense; 12 month license suspension for second or subsequent offense.

*If you are under the age of 21, there is an automatic license suspension of 90 days, regardless of BAC Level. 


At Ketchel Law, we work aggressively to minimize the impact a DUI will have on your life—Our number one goal is to get your DUI charges dismissed. In the case of DUI, we will also work to significantly have the charges reduced and help you find options to license suspension.

An Arrest is NOT a Conviction.

For a Free Consultation call 412-456-1221 Today.


What is the Ignition Interlock Program?

Pennsylvania law makes the Ignition Interlock requirement mandatory for first-time and repeat DUI offenders with high blood alcohol levels and for individuals who receive an operating privilege suspension as a result of a chemical test refusal violation.

See the Ignition Interlock Fact Sheet  and Ignition Interlock FAQ for additional information.

What is the ARD Program? 

For first time DUI offenders and other minor crime and drug offenders, the ARD Program, or Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition program, can help you retain your driver’s license and jail time. This program can also give you the opportunity to have your criminal record expunged, which means avoiding a permanent criminal record that comes with a DUI conviction.

If you are seeking information on applying and being accepted into the Allegheny County ARD Program or to have your criminal record expunged, please contact our law office today for a free legal consultation.




Call 412-456-1221 for a free consultation

If you have been charged with a DUI in Pennsylvania, contact Ketchel Law today.

Our number one goal is to have your charges dismissed and your record clean.



We offer free legal consultations to anyone charged with a crime. Call us today to find out how we can help defend your rights.

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