West Chester

Third DUI Lawyer

Pennsylvania treats repeat DUI offenders seriously and punishes them harshly. If you have been charged with three or more driving under the influence (DUI) offenses in Pennsylvania, you may be subjected to some of the most severe DUI penalties possible. In addition to hefty fines, you will be sentenced to prison at a state facility, not a local jail. You’ll face a lengthy driver’s license suspension and installation of an interlock device in your car once you can drive again. To prevent a third DUI or subsequent DUI conviction, you need to contact a third DUI attorney as soon as possible.

Just because you were previously convicted of a DUI, does not mean you broke the law this time. As an experienced defense attorney, Michael J. Skinner has an impressive track record of defending against drunk driving offenses – even for people with prior DUIs. Let us discuss the situation, review your options, and fight hard to achieve the best possible outcome. Call (610) 436-1410 today to schedule your free consultation.

Pennsylvania DUI Law

Under 75 PA Cons Stat §3802, it is illegal to drive, operate, or be in actual physical control of a vehicle after imbibing a sufficient amount of alcohol that you are rendered incapable of safely driving, operating, or being in actual physical control of the movement of the vehicle.

It also is illegal to drive, operate, or be in actual physical control of the movement of a vehicle if you have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher within two hours of driving, operating, or being in physical control of the car.

If you have a commercial driver’s license (CDL) and were in your commercial or school vehicle at the time of the DUI stop, or you are under 21 years old, then you face a different standard than a 0.08% BAC.

CDL drivers have a 0.04% BAC limit while driving commercial vehicles and a 0.02% BAC limit when driving a school bus or other school vehicle. If you are under 21 years old, your BAC limit is 0.02%.

Additionally, alcohol intoxication is not the only way to be charged with a DUI. An officer can arrest you if you drive, operate, or are in actual physical control of the movement of a vehicle when you have a controlled substance in your blood, you are under the influence of drugs that impair your abilities, or you are under the influence of a combination of drugs and alcohol that impairs your abilities.

DUI: Three Levels of Impairment

Pennsylvania divides every DUI offense into one of three levels:

  • General Impairment BAC: 0.08% to 0.099%
  • High BAC: 0.10% to 0.159%
  • Highest BAC: 0.16% and higher

The consequences for a third DUI offense or subsequent offense increase depending on your BAC and whether you fall into the category of general impairment, high BAC, or highest BAC.

What Is a 3rd DUI in Pennsylvania?

When an officer arrests you for a DUI, whether you are charged with a first, second, third, or subsequent DUI depends on when your previous DUI convictions occurred. The prosecutor will look back 10 years, and any DUI on your record in that period will count against you.

If you have two DUI convictions within the past 10 years, the prosecutor will charge you with a third DUI. If you have three previous DUI convictions in 10 years, the prosecutor will charge you with a fourth DUI, and so on.

If your first DUI was over 10 years ago and only one other DUI conviction took place within the previous 10 years, then the prosecutor will charge you with a second DUI, not a third.

If you believe you should not be facing your third DUI charge, call an attorney to review your prior record and analyze the PA lookback period.

Third DUI Consequences

A third DUI involving a BAC between .08% and .099% is a second-degree misdemeanor, punishable by:

  • Between 10 days in jail and up to 2 years in prison
  • Fines between $500 and $5,000
  • 12 months of an ignition interlock device
  • 12-month license suspension
  • Alcohol highway safety school
  • Alcohol or drug abuse treatment, if court-ordered.

A third DUI with a high BAC is a first-degree misdemeanor, punishable by:

  • Between 90 days in jail and up to 5 years in prison
  • Between $1,500 and $10,000 in fines
  • 12 months of an ignition interlock device
  • 18-month license suspension
  • Alcohol highway safety school
  • Alcohol or drug abuse treatment, if court-ordered.

A third DUI involving a highest BAC is a felony, punishable by:

  • Between 1 and 5 years in prison
  • Fines between $2,500 to $10,000
  • 12 months of an ignition interlock device
  • 18-month license suspension
  • Alcohol highway safety school
  • Alcohol or drug abuse treatment, if court-ordered.

Fourth DUI and Fifth DUI Consequences

A fourth or subsequent DUI involving general impairment is a second-degree misdemeanor, punishable by:

  • Between 10 days in jail and up to 2 years in prison
  • Fines between $500 and $5,000
  • 12 months of an ignition interlock device
  • 12-month license suspension
  • Alcohol highway safety school
  • Alcohol or drug abuse treatment, if court-ordered.

A fourth or subsequent DUI with a high BAC is a felony, punishable by:

  • Between 1 and 5 years in prison
  • Fines between $2,500 and $10,000
  • 12 months of an ignition interlock device
  • 18-month license suspension
  • Alcohol highway safety school
  • Alcohol or drug abuse treatment, if court-ordered.

Did You Refuse a Chemical Test?

Under Pennsylvania’s implied consent law, when an officer arrests you for a DUI, you have already agreed to submit to one or more chemical tests to determine your BAC. You may be asked to submit to a breath, urine, or warrantless blood test.

If you refuse to submit to a BAC test, you can face civil and criminal consequences. The civil consequence of refusal is an automatic license suspension. Thirty days from the date you receive a letter from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, your administrative suspension goes into effect for one year or 18 months.

To fight this administrative license suspension, you need to request an administrative hearing right away. You only have 30 days to appeal this suspension. It is essential to call a third DUI lawyer right away to fight this suspension.

You also can face harsher criminal penalties for refusing a breath test. Although, you cannot face criminal penalties for refusing a warrantless blood test.

Defending Against Multiple DUIs

Following an arrest for a third or subsequent DUI in or around Chester County, it is important to call an experienced and effective attorney. You need someone well versed in Pennsylvania DUI law, who knows how to advocate for the best possible outcome in your case.

A third DUI charge is not open and shut. Depending on the circumstances, Skinner Law Firm may fight for the charges to be reduced or dismissed. We may also recommend pursuing an acquittal at trial.

Possible DUI defenses include:

  • An unlawful DUI/sobriety checkpoint: If we can establish the police utilized an unlawful checkpoint, we may be able to have the resulting evidence ruled inadmissible or have your case dismissed.
  • Unlawful traffic stop: We may seek to prove an officer pulled you over without probable cause or reasonable suspicion that you were committing a crime.
  • Unlawful search and seizure: We may establish that the officer conducted an unlawful search of your vehicle during a traffic stop, and any resulting evidence should be ruled inadmissible.
  • Unreliable field sobriety test results: Though you are not required to perform any field sobriety tests, you may have done so during a traffic stop. We will seek to prove that these tests are unreliable in establishing impairment.
  • Inaccurate chemical test results: We may find evidence that suggests the results of a breath, blood, or urine test are inaccurate. For example, we may learn the police station’s breath test machine was not properly maintained and calibrated.

If the evidence weighs heavily against you, we may recommend steps to obtain the minimum consequences upon conviction.

Call a Third DUI Lawyer Today

At Skinner Law Firm, we know what’s on the line and how to protect you from a third or subsequent DUI charge in West Chester, Phoenixville, Kennett Square, Oxford, Coatesville, or anywhere in Chester County. DUI defense attorney Michael J. Skinner will listen to the facts of your particular situation and evaluate your options, as well as explain the best and worst-case scenarios.

As a former Chester County prosecutor, attorney Skinner will use his experience and insight to identify any possible defenses or mitigating circumstances that will put you in a favorable position.

Contact Skinner Law Firm at (610) 436-1410 or use the online form to request a free consultation.

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