Pennsylvania DUI First Offense
Many Pennsylvania drivers who are charged with a first offense driving under the influence (DUI) offense are unaware that they will face two separate charges: one in criminal court and the other in a civil proceeding with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDot). For the civil proceeding, you have 30 days to request a hearing with the PennDot. If you miss this deadline, they will automatically suspend your license for one year.
When you are arrested for drunk driving in Pennsylvania, the state will try to prosecute you in one of two ways. The first way is through a “per se” violation. If you took a breath, blood, or urine test and your blood alcohol content (BAC) was over the state’s legal limit of .08%, this can be used as evidence that you were under the influence while operating your vehicle. In this case, the prosecution does not have to prove that you were dangerous behind the wheel or that you showed physical signs of impairment.
Another way the prosecution may try to prove you were intoxicated is through the “under the influence” theory. Using the testimony of the arresting officer regarding your driving and demeanor as well as your field sobriety test results, they can try to prove that you were impaired by alcohol and/or drugs and were unsafe behind the wheel.
While the penalties for a first offense DUI are less severe than those for multiple offenses, they are still serious. If your BAC was .08% to just under .10%, you face a $300 fine, up to 6 months on probation, Highway Safety classes and a CRN Evaluation.
If your BAC was .10% to less than .16%, you face a fine between $500 and $5000, between 48 hours and 6 months in jail, a 12-month license suspension, Highway Safety classes and a CRN Evaluation.
If your BAC was .16% or higher, you face a fine between $1000 and $5000, jail time between 72 hours and 6 months, a 12 month license suspension and a full drug and alcohol treatment evaluation.
Pennsylvania DUI Second Offense
If you have been arrested and convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) in the State of Pennsylvania and are now facing another drunk-driving charge, you should immediately contact our defense firm for representation. Penalties for a DUI are serious enough for a first offense, and they only get worse with a second offense. Make sure your rights are protected by choosing a DUI defense attorney who is experienced, highly trained and has a proven track record of winning results.
Since you’ve already faced the penalties of a first offense DUI, you’re probably wondering just how bad it will get if you have another conviction on your record. Before going into detail about the penalties, it’s important to understand that you haven’t been convicted yet. The right attorney can find weaknesses in the prosecution’s claims and portray you in your best light. With so many things that can go wrong (from inaccurate blood alcohol content (BAC) test results to a lack of proper police protocol) there are numerous ways that an experienced DUI defense attorney can poke holes in the prosecution’s case to strengthen your defense.
If your BAC was at or over the legal limit of .08% but was under .10% and you are convicted of a second offense DUI, the minimum jail sentence is five days but could be up to 6 months. You face a fine between $300 and $2500 and you will be required to attend Highway and Safety classes and a full drug and alcohol treatment assessment. You will also lose your license for 12 months and following reinstatement of your license, you will have to install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle(s) for 1 year.
For those with a BAC between .10% and just under .16%, the minimum jail sentence increases to 30 days. In this case, the minimum fine is $750 but will not exceed $5,000. Again, you will face a 12-month license suspension, 1 year on the ignition interlock device, Highway and Safety classes and a full alcohol and drug treatment assessment.
A BAC over .16% will require a minimum jail sentence of 90 days; however, it could be up to 5 years! The minimum fine is $1500 and your license suspension will increase to 18 months followed by 1 year on the ignition interlock device. You will also be required to attend Highway Safety classes and a full alcohol and drug treatment assessment.
Pennsylvania DUI Third Offense
It is absolutely imperative that you hire an experienced and qualified Pennsylvania defense attorney if you are facing your third driving under the influence (DUI) offense. Two DUI convictions in the state of Pennsylvania have probably already severely altered your life—don’t let a third one take away any more of your freedoms! By contacting us, you are ensuring your rights are protected and leaving your case in the hands of a highly trained professional.
There are two components to a DUI case that the state looks at when considering how severe your case is. The first is how high your blood alcohol content (BAC) was and the second is how many prior DUI offenses are on your record. Obviously, the higher either of these numbers is the more severe the penalties will be. In any case, a DUI defense attorney can help. Perhaps the police officer forgot to read you your Miranda rights. Or maybe there was no probable cause to stop you in the first place. Don’t let two prior DUI convictions stop you from hiring an experienced attorney. Remember, you have not been convicted of a third one yet!
Examining the penalties for a third DUI offense
If your BAC was in the range of .08% to less than .10% and you’re convicted of DUI, you face a minimum of 10 days in jail. But note, the judge can sentence you to 2 years. Your fine will be between $500 and $5000. In addition to a 12-month license suspension, you will be required to install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle(s) for one year. You will also receive a CRN evaluation and a drug and alcohol treatment assessment.
For a BAC of .10 up to, but not including .16%, you must serve a minimum of 90 days in jail but could face up to 5 years. The fine increases to a range of $1500 to $10000 and you will again receive an18-month license suspension and must install an ignition interlock system in your vehicle(s) for one year. You will also receive a CRN evaluation and a drug and alcohol treatment assessment.
If your BAC was over .16%, you face between 1 and 5 years in jail and a minimum $2500 fine. Following an 18-month license suspension, you will be required to install an ignition interlock device for 1 year. A full drug and alcohol treatment assessment is required.
Whether you are facing a first, second, third, or even higher Pennsylvania driving under the influence (DUI) offense, our attorneys can take on your case to help you avoid a conviction. Because the penalties for repeat offenders are increased, it is important that you contact us immediately and leave your case in the hands of an experienced defense lawyer.
One of the ways the state of Pennsylvania has decided to crack down on DUI offenders is through the installation of an ignition interlock device. This electronic machine is connected to your vehicle(s) ignition, and essentially acts as a portable breathalyzer test that is used to test your blood alcohol content (BAC) before the vehicle can start.
If the ignition interlock device detects as little as .025% BAC on your breath (which is equal to one drink for a person of average size and well under the state’s legal limit of .08%), your vehicle will not start. As soon as this happens, the machine will log this as a failure into its system.
Will I have to have this device installed in my vehicle(s)?
If you are convicted of a second or third drunk-driving offense in Pennsylvania, you may be required to have this device installed in your vehicle; however, this doesn’t happen until after your 12-month license suspension is completed. After this time, the device will be installed in your vehicle and is required to stay there for one year. You are responsible for all costs associated with this device including an installation fee, monthly usage charges and any maintenance expenses.
Once your license suspension time period is up, PennDot will notify you by mail (or you may need to contact them to confirm eligibility). They will then send you the forms that must be completed to apply for your ignition interlock license. Though these may be subject to change, PennDot only approves installation of these devices by the following companies: Intoxalock, Keystone SmartStart, National Interlock and Pennsylvania Interlock.