Having a DUI on your record can hurt your potential employment opportunities and disrupt your plan for higher education.  You may receive a restricted license or license suspension, interrupting your daily routine and causing stress on you and your family.  You will be assessed a fine and possibly even jail time.

Getting arrested and convicted of a second DUI increases all of the fines, jail time and length of license suspension.  It also requires an ignition interlock device to be installed on your car for one year.  You may also be required to attend alcohol screening and intervention programs on a regular basis.

Courts have been issuing stricter penalties and harsher punishments on DUIs to discourage drinking and driving.

Having 1 prior DUI offense can lead to the following penalties:

  • Ungraded misdemeanor
  • 12-month license suspension
  • 5 days to 6 months jail time
  • $300 to $2,500 fine
  • Alcohol highway safety school
  • Treatment when ordered
  • 1 year ignition interlock

The new law creates a higher set of penalties for those having higher BAC levels. It allows for treatment at all levels, and requires alcohol highway safety school for all first and second time offenders.

High BAC penalties (.10 to .159% BAC):

  • Ungraded misdemeanor
  • 12 month license suspension
  • 30 days to 6 months prison
  • $750 to $5,000 fine
  • Alcohol highway safety school
  • Treatment when ordered
  • 1 year ignition interlock

For those at the highest BAC levels, the new law has strict penalties, but also allows for treatment. This even-handed approach allows for individuals to receive counseling for their alcohol problem, while still penalizing those who choose to continue the dangerous practice of drinking and driving.

In addition, drivers under the influence of controlled substances and those who refuse breath or chemical testing are subject to the highest BAC category penalties.

Highest BAC (.16% and higher) or Controlled Substance penalties:

  • 1st degree misdemeanor
  • 18 month license suspension
  • 90 days to 5 years prison
  • $1,500 to $10,00 fine
  • Alcohol highway safety school
  • Treatment when ordered
  • 1 year ignition interlock

The Implied Consent Law in Pennsylvania

The Implied Consent law is very important to you as a driver. The law covering chemical testing says you have agreed to take such a test — just by being licensed to drive in Pennsylvania. If the police arrest you for driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs and you refuse to take one (1) or more chemical tests of breath, blood or urine, your driving privilege will be automatically suspended for one (1) year. This suspension is in addition to the suspension imposed for a conviction or Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) for driving while under the influence. Even if you are found not guilty of driving while under the influence, your driving privilege will be suspended for one (1) year for a first-time refusal to take a blood, breath or urine test. If you refuse to take a test and you are found guilty of DUI, your driving privilege may be suspended for two and a half (2 1/2) years, depending on your BAC level at the time of the arrest. If you refuse chemical testing and have had a prior DUI conviction or a prior refusal for chemical testing, you will face an 18-month suspension for the refusal, plus 18 more months for the DUI conviction, for a total suspension of three (3) years.

1st Offense 1st Offense AND guilty of DUI Refusal AND prior DUI conviction or refusal for testing
Refusal to take test 1 year license suspension Up to 2 ½ years license suspension 18 month license suspension PLUS 18 months for prior conviction = 3 year suspension

Being convicted of multiple DUIs is a serious matter with serious consequences.  Drinking and driving can jeopardize your life and the lives of others and it can result in long-term suffering and loss.  You may wish you made better choices in the past, but you can control your future decisions.

Are you facing second-offense DUI charges? It’s important that you hire an experienced attorney immediately to help defend your rights. Attorney James H. Bonner, Esquire, has the knowledge needed to get the best results possible in your case. Reach out to us today at 610.450.4555 for more information!


Source: Pennsylvania Department of Transportation