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How do repeat offenses affect a DUI charge?

| Jun 9, 2021 | DUI Defense

In Pennsylvania, there are three levels of DUI. These include general impairment, high BAC and highest BAC. Each of these have their own penalties upon conviction.

The penalties for these charges increase each time if there are previous DUIs on a person’s record. For example, a person facing a general impairment penalty, which is used for an undetermined blood alcohol concentration or a BAC of .08 to .099%, having a previous DUI offense means that they could face these enhanced penalties:

  • A 12 month license suspension
  • Up to six months in jail
  • Fines of up to $2,500
  • A year with an ignition interlock device

This is a significant increase in penalties compared to this same charge with no previous penalties. For someone with no history of DUIs, the base penalties are:

  • A $300 fine
  • Up to six months of probation
  • Required alcohol safety school
  • Treatment (when required by the court)
  • An ungraded misdemeanor

The penalties are even more significant for those with two or more previous DUIs.

What happens when you have at least two previous DUIs?

When you have two previous general DUIs, you’ll face several enhanced penalties upon conviction including:

  • Fines of up to $5,000
  • Alcohol/drug abuse treatment
  • One year with an ignition interlock device
  • Up to two years in prison
  • A license suspension of 12 months
  • A 2nd degree misdemeanor

Remember, since Pennsylvania has three levels of DUIs, these are just the basic penalties for general impairment convictions. If you are accused of high or highest BAC offenses, then the penalties are more significant. Notably, fines begin to grow substantially, and the likelihood of spending time in prison increases. Interestingly, none of the penalties include losing your license permanently, which is unique to the state.

What should you do if you are accused of a second DUI?

A strong defense is essential whenever you’re facing a DUI. A conviction is hard to overturn, but if you fight with a strong defense, you may be able to avoid one or to have the penalties significantly reduced. A conviction could impact your freedoms, so it’s smart to look into your legal options.

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