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Repeat Offenders and Drunk Driving Laws

Public acceptance of drunk driving has diminished considerably over the past 20 years, both in Pennsylvania and nationally. One result of this is that repeat offenses, within a period of ten years, bring harsher penalties with each incident.

A single infraction, where a motorist is found guilty of driving under the influence (DUI), can yield penalties that are harsh enough. Particularly with higher levels of blood alcohol content (BAC)—.079 percent is the legal minimum, but readings more than double that are often recorded — a first offense can result in a 12-month license suspension, six months in jail, and a $5,000 fine.

But second, third, and fourth offenses of DUI and DUID (driving under the influence of drugs) laws result in harsher sentences. One or two prior offenses can result in fines as large as $10,000. Driving privileges for repeat offenders can be suspended for 18 months, and they can spend 90 days to five years in prison. Many repeat offenders will have an ignition interlock device installed in their vehicles for one year to ensure they do not drive under the influence for that period.

Note also that first offenses are deemed ungraded misdemeanors, while second and subsequent offenses are first-degree misdemeanors. This defines the weight of penalties associated with the crime, as just outlined. An experienced DUI defense attorney can help minimize or eliminate the charges against you.

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