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Is it illegal to drive after drinking alcohol in Pennsylvania?

On Behalf of | Feb 29, 2024 | Firm News

Drinking alcohol is not a crime if you are of legal age, which is why adults can buy alcoholic beverages in restaurants, bars and other public establishments. In Pennsylvania, no exact law prohibits you from getting behind the wheel after having a drink. The critical factor to consider is how much you consume and how it affects your ability to drive.

According to Pennsylvania’s DUI laws, an individual should not drive a vehicle after “imbibing a sufficient amount of alcohol such that the individual is rendered incapable of safely driving.” You would have to have consumed enough alcohol to influence your ability to drive for it to be illegal.

Your level of intoxication matters

If you consume enough alcohol over the years, you have most likely developed a tolerance to its effects. Tolerance does not influence your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level, but it may lead you to believe that you have less alcohol in your system than you actually do. The law steps in to set boundaries, expressed as BAC limits.

The legal BAC limit is 0.08%. If your BAC is 0.08% or higher, you are considered legally intoxicated, and a police officer can charge you with a DUI. However, the officer would still need a reason to initiate the traffic stop and to perform chemical tests to obtain your BAC. If they had no probable cause of impairment or you did not violate any traffic rules, they should not have pulled you over to begin with.



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