DiCindio Law LLC | December 13, 2019 | DUI
A second DUI offense in Pennsylvania is a very serious offense that carries hefty penalties. It has higher mandatory jail time, longer driver suspension, and higher fines than a first-time DUI conviction.
To help you understand a bit more about these charges, here is what you need to know about a second offense DUI.
Second Offense DUI Overview
While drunk driving is a criminal charge in all states, each state has its own DUI laws and penalties. Some states have higher penalties and mandatory minimum terms of imprisonment.
Defenses available also can vary depending on the state of the DUI charges.
The cost of a second DUI offense is typically higher than a first DUI offense due to steeper fines, higher attorney’s costs (typically), license suspension for longer periods of time and sometimes mandatory minimum periods of time, car insurance premium increases, possible lost wages from missed work if imprisoned, costs for court-ordered drug treatment programs, etc.
The laws are more complex for a second offense DUI. Also, a second DUI offense may result in a felony conviction depending on the facts of the case and the state where it occurred.
Given the increased risk of what is at stake for a second DUI offense, hiring a DUI attorney is suggested when facing a second offense DUI.
A DUI attorney can help build a case by utilizing any available defenses, potentially negotiate a lesser charge in exchange for a guilty plea, assist with trial proceedings, and argue for a less severe sentence if the case goes to trial and you are convicted of the charges.
Costs of a DUI Offense
Fines and the cost of legal representation are higher for second offense DUIs. Penalties imposed if found guilty are also higher. However, these are not the only costs that can come from a DUI charge.
Other Costs of a DUI Offense
The cost of a DUI conviction includes the sentence imposed by the court, which can include steep fines. Additionally, other fines may result from related civil cases for car accidents or injury to another person, fees resulting from a suspension of driving privileges, and increased car insurance premiums.
DUI convictions are public and this may make future employment difficult. Additionally, driver license restrictions and jail time may lead to lost wages from missed work. You may also be responsible for the costs of mandated drug treatment programs and driving classes.
The average total cost of a first-time DUI offense is estimated at around $6,500 according to a study by Martindale-Nolo. Source: https://www.lawyers.com/legal-info/criminal/dui-dwi/first-offense-dui.html. The total cost can increase substantially for second offense DUIs.
Second Offenses and Prior Convictions
If this charge or your first offense was due to you driving under the influence of a controlled substance instead of drunk driving, both are DUI charges and both will count for purposes of being charged for a second offense DUI instead of a first-time DUI offense.
Additionally, a prior DUI charge that was expunged through successful completion of the ARD program will also be counted as a prior DUI conviction. Moreover, this second DUI charge may violate the terms you agreed to with your first offense.
For example, if you agreed to a plea bargain for a lesser sentence with the first offense, but violated the terms of your parole through the events that led to the second DUI charge, you may now have your first offense revisited or higher penalties imposed.
You may also face increased jail time if some of your jail time imposed by the court for the first offense was suspended jail time. A second conviction may lead to you having to serve any jail time that was suspended for the first conviction in addition to jail time imposed for the second offense.
Pennsylvania Laws and Penalties for a Second DUI Offense
Pennsylvania has a ten-year look-back period for DUIs. If you are being charged with a DUI and have a prior DUI conviction that occurred within the past ten years, then this is a second offense DUI.
Second offense DUIs have mandatory jail time and license suspension.
The penalties you face for a second DUI conviction will depend on the individual facts of your case. As a starting point, know that Pennsylvania imposes penalties for DUI convictions based on three ranges for a person’s BAC.
The tiers include the following BAC ranges:
- First tier: 0.08%-0.099%
- Second tier: 0.10%-0.159%
- Third tier: 0.16% and higher, and includes persons that refuse to submit to a BAC test.
The penalties are more severe for higher tiers. Additionally, the following factors can result in more severe penalties:
- Injuries to another person
- Property damage from a car accident
- Driving drunk and under 21 years of age
- Prior DUI convictions
Pennsylvania’s penalties for a second offense DUI range from 5 days to 5 years in prison time, $500-$10,000 in fines, and a 12-18 month suspension of driver’s license.
The BAC you had at the time of arrest will determine the minimum penalty range. For example, if there was no injury to another person or property damage, the driver was at least 21 years old, and the driver had a BAC of 0.08%-0.099%, then the penalties for a conviction of a second offense DUI in Pennsylvania are; five days to six months of imprisonment, license suspension for 12 months, and fines between $300-$1,500.
The penalties go up when there are aggravating factors and for BACs in higher tiers of intoxication.
What You Can Do if Charged with a Second DUI Offense
Here are a few steps to consider if you have been charged with a second DUI offense in the state of Pennsylvania:
- Contact an experienced DUI attorney to discuss the facts of your case and learn more about potential defenses and whether they can assist you through representation.
- Try to recall all facts as soon as possible around the time of arrest to provide a DUI attorney that you contact with pertinent information that they may use to establish defenses for your charges.
- Research the options you have for representation. You can represent yourself or obtain legal representation from a public defender or by hiring a private attorney.
- Gather all documentation for both your first DUI offense and your second offense DUI.
Given the severity of a second offense DUI in Pennsylvania, you should at least contact a DUI attorney for an initial consultation. The cost of representation by an experienced DUI attorney is likely much lower than the potential costs you may face if convicted of a second DUI offense without good representation by a seasoned professional to help get you the best outcome.
Contact Our DUI Law Firm in West Chester, PA
If you are facing criminal charges and need legal help, contact the West Chester, PA DUI lawyers at DiCindioLaw, LLC to schedule a free initial consultation.
DiCindio Law, LLC
29 S Walnut St
West Chester, PA 19382
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