West Chester

Second DUI Lawyer

A second offense DUI in Pennsylvania is a serious charge with potentially severe penalties. In addition to jail time, fines, and drug and alcohol treatment, you will be facing a lengthy license suspension period and mandatory installation of an ignition interlock. These additional requirements carry separate rules and costs that will affect you long after your DUI case has ended.

People often assume that nothing can be done to improve a second DUI charge. However, that is not the case, and at Skinner Law Firm, our DUI lawyers know that entering a guilty plea for many clients is not an option. There are ways to resolve a second – time DUI charges favorably, and we will make every effort to avoid a criminal conviction on your record. If you are arrested for DUI in Chester County, or any of the surrounding areas your first call should be to attorney Michael J. Skinner. Call (610) 436-1410 today for a free consultation.

2nd DUI in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania law will take into account the last 10 years of your driving history to determine if this is your second DUI. With a second DUI in the Philadelphia area or around Chester County, PA, the possibility of serving time in jail increases sharply in addition to other penalties.

Even if you have no prior conviction, you can be charged with a second offense DUI. If you were previously accepted into ARD and subsequently arrested for DUI, this will be a second offense. In addition, it is possible to be charged with a second offense DUI if your first DUI occurred outside of Pennsylvania.

Penalties for A Second DUI in PA

Pennsylvania’s system for punishing DUI offenses is largely determined by your BAC at the time of arrest and whether you have previous DUI convictions on your record.

A second DUI involving a BAC of .08 to .099% is an ungraded misdemeanor.  For a second DUI in Pennsylvania with this BAC, the mandatory minimum sentence is:

  • At least 5 days in jail (although the court could sentence up to 6 months in jail);
  • Pay a fine between $300 to $2,500;
  • Successfully complete the alcohol highway safety school;
  • Complete alcohol or drug abuse treatment, if ordered;
  • Install an ignition interlock for 12 months; and
  • 12 months license suspension

A second DUI involving a BAC ranging from .10 to .159% is an ungraded misdemeanor. For a second DUI in Pennsylvania with this BAC, the mandatory minimum sentence is:

  • At least 30 days in jail (although the court could sentence up to 6 months in jail);
  • Pay a fine between $750 to $5,000;
  • Successfully complete the alcohol highway safety school;
  • Complete alcohol or drug abuse treatment, if ordered;
  • Install an ignition interlock for 12 months; and
  • 12 months license suspension

A second or subsequent DUI involving a BAC of .16% or higher is considered a misdemeanor of the first degree. For a second DUI in Pennsylvania with this BAC, the mandatory minimum sentence is:

  • At least 90 days in jail (although the court could sentence up to 5 years in prison);
  • Pay a fine between $1,500 and $10,000;
  • Successfully complete the alcohol highway safety school;
  • Complete alcohol or drug abuse treatment, if ordered;
  • Install an ignition interlock for 12 months; and
  • 18 months license suspension.

Second DUI License Suspensions

Pennsylvania law mandates a driver’s license suspension for a second DUI conviction be as follows:

  • If the driver’s BAC was below .10% and incapable of safely driving, the license suspension will usually be for 12 months for a second or subsequent offense;
  • If the driver’s BAC was greater than or equal to .10%, but less than .16%, involved an accident or injury, involved a minor with a BAC equal to or greater than .02%, or involved certain commercial or school bus drivers, the license suspension will usually be for 12 months for a second or subsequent offense;
  • If the driver’s BAC was greater than or equal to .16%, involved a refusal, or involved driving under the influence of a controlled substance, the license suspension will be for 18 months for a second or subsequent offense.

Pennsylvania Requires Ignition Interlock Devices for a Second DUI

For drivers convicted of a second or subsequent DUI offense, they will be required to install an ignition interlock device in their car. In the past, a driver could opt to serve an additional one-year license suspension to avoid this installation. This is no longer an option and all second offense DUI offenders must comply.

Under the current law, a driver with a second or subsequent conviction for DUI must install an ignition interlock device on all vehicles owned or leased in their name before their driving privileges can be restored. In order to obtain an ignition interlock, drivers must also show financial responsibility for all vehicles that they own or lease.

Only certain drivers may apply for an exemption from the requirement to install the ignition interlock device on each and every vehicle. A driver may seek an exemption if he will suffer from severe financial hardship installing the device on all vehicles. If the exemption is granted, the installation will only be required on one vehicle.

Under certain circumstances, drivers who are required to have an ignition interlock device on their own vehicle may still operate vehicles owned by their employer without an ignition interlock device, but only during the course and scope of employment.

The driver must notify the employer of the ignition interlock restriction, and carry proof of employer notification on a PennDOT form. The employer-owned vehicle cannot be a large passenger vehicle, or school bus or vehicle. Be sure to contact a qualified driver’s license suspension attorney to see if these exceptions apply to your case.

Defending Against a 2nd DUI

If you have been charged with drunk or drugged driving in Chester County, Lancaster County, Montgomery County, or Delaware County, and it is your second offense, it is essential to work with an experienced attorney who is knowledgeable about Pennsylvania’s DUI laws and what it takes to successfully deal with a second offense DUI.

From dealing with the preliminary hearing in your criminal DUI case to the administrative hearing with PennDOT regarding your license, we’ll walk you through the process and advocate for the best possible outcome.

We’ll review the evidence, whether law enforcement followed proper procedures, and identify any weaknesses in the case. Once we create a plan based on your unique circumstances, we will execute a strategy aimed at keeping you out of jail, reducing the charges, securing a dismissal, or getting an acquittal at trial.

Some of the defense options we’ll explore in a second DUI case include:

  • Did the police have probable cause to stop you?
  • Was there cause to test you for driving while impaired?
  • Can the field sobriety test or chemical tests be called into question?
  • Were your rights violated in any way?

A Chester County Lawyer for Second DUI Charges

If you were arrested for a second DUI in West Chester, Phoenixville, Kennett Square, Oxford, Coatesville, or anywhere in Chester County, contact an experienced attorney with the Skinner Law Firm immediately.

There are often steps to take early that can greatly improve your situation and reduce the impact on your life. Attorney Michael J. Skinner will discuss the particular facts and circumstances of your case, and help you find a path forward that does not involve the harsh punishments usually attached to a second offense DUI.

Contact the Skinner Law Firm at (610) 436-1410 for a free consultation.

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