Whether you failed a field sobriety test or your chemical tests returned a high blood or breath alcohol level, you could face a driving under the influence (DUI) charge. Pennsylvania is hardly the only U.S. state to have laws against drunk driving, so officers in other jurisdictions can slap you with similar charges if you’re caught inebriated.
But what happens if you’ve been previously convicted of DUI in another state and then face another DUI charge in Pennsylvania?
State counts offenses in other jurisdictions
According to Pennsylvania rules, whenever a court sentences a person for DUI, the court will count any convictions in other states as prior offenses.
This means that if a Pennsylvania court convicts you for DUI the first time, but you also have a prior record of DUI in neighboring New York, for instance, the court will treat you as if you’ve committed the offense for a second time. Penalties for a second offense DUI include not less than five days of mandatory jail time and up to $2,500 in fines.
Out-of-state DUIs and the look-back period
Not only does Pennsylvania consider DUIs from other states, but it also has a 10-year-long look-back period. This means that the state will count a person’s previous convictions from the last decade when determining penalties, whether those convictions came from Pennsylvania or outside.
Whether it’s Pennsylvania or another U.S. state, DUI is one of the most strictly enforced criminal offenses. If you face charges and have previous criminal convictions in other jurisdictions, carefully consider your legal options because the court will look at your records.