Driving is an important part of daily life for many of us. It is often the only viable way we have of traveling to work or even the grocery store, and the privilege of driving is often something that we take for granted. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that you will always possess this privilege. Certain crimes can result in your license being suspended or permanently revoked, for example, which could be a devastating blow to everyday family life. That’s one of the reasons why, if you are facing second-offense DUI charges in Pennsylvania, you should hire the Best DUI attorney in PA as quickly as possible.
What should I do if I’m charged with a second-offense DUI?
Being charged with any form of a DUI could have serious consequences. This is especially true when it comes to second-offense DUIs, where defendants have already been convicted once before on a DUI charge. The penalties that accompany these charges can vary depending upon the specific case in question, however there are a few general guidelines to keep in mind.
If your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is at least .08% at the time of arrest but lower than .1%, you are facing a misdemeanor. This situation will often carry the most lenient punishment, ranging from $300 to $2,500 to pay in fines, anywhere from five days up to six months spent in jail, and a license suspension of 12 months. Finally, most motorists will be required to complete an alcohol safety course and perhaps even take part in substance abuse treatment.
If your second-offense DUI includes a BAC of anywhere from .1% to .15% (less than .16%, to be specific) you might be facing penalties that are a bit harsher. These charges are still considered a misdemeanor; however, you are looking at fines of anywhere from $750 and $5,000, anywhere from 30 days up to six months in jail, and, finally, a license suspension of up to 12 months. You might also be required to receive treatment for substance abuse and complete the alcohol safety course referenced above.
Finally, if your BAC was at or above .16% or you refused to take a breathalyzer test, you are facing from 90 days up to five years in jail, no less than $1,500 in fines, and a license suspension of at least 18 months. You might be subject to substance abuse classes or treatment, too, and there are additional penalties to consider if you were arrested with a minor in the car.
Again, the exact charges you will face depend upon the specifics of your case. For more information, make sure that you contact an attorney experienced with DUI law in Pennsylvania who can work with you to discuss your case and your options.
Should I take a breath test?
You might see the advice that you should never consent to a breath test and wonder if this is a good idea. To answer, it’s important to understand that there are implied consent laws that differ in every state. In some areas, that advice might be good. In Pennsylvania, however, it is likely not. If you refuse to take a breath test, you can be charged with that refusal as a crime in and of itself – and one that is difficult to defend. If you are convicted of that crime, then you’re facing the harshest penalties under the law. Remember that refusal to take a breath test is listed right alongside a BAC of .16% above.
Ideally, you would contact an attorney before making a decision about taking the test or not. On a more practical level, the best option is likely to submit to it since refusing is illegal and could land you in even hotter water than your BAC might.
Will I lose my license?
If you are convicted of a second-offense DUI, chances are good that you might face a license suspension. That does not necessarily mean that you won’t be able to drive, however, as you might be able to opt for an ignition interlock device (IID). These devices require that you blow into them and maintain a certain BAC in order to start your car and drive, and they must be used if you want to apply for a restricted license during the time your official license is revoked.
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!
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