Third Offense DUI in Pennsylvania

If you are stopped for a DUI, and you have had two previous DUIs in Pennsylvania during the last ten years (the lookback period), you face the following criminal and administrative penalties.

Criminal Penalties

Jail time. The jail time you face for a third DUI in Pennsylvania depends on your blood alcohol content (BAC). Pennsylvania has a three-tiered punishment system.

  • a Tier 1 offense occurs if your BAC was less than 0.10 percent. You will be sentenced to incarceration ranging from ten days to 2 years and ordered to pay a fine between $500 and $5,000.
  • a Tier 2 offense occurs if your BAC was at least 0.10 percent but less than 0.16 percent. You will receive a sentence ranging from 90 days to 5 years, and you will be ordered to pay a fine between $1,500 and $10,000.
  • a Tier 3 offense occurs if your BAC was over 0.16 percent. The minimum jail sentence in this case is 1 year, and the maximum is 5 years. Fines range between $2,500 and $10,000.

You may also be ordered to serve up to 150 hours of community service. Judges will commonly require an alcohol assessment and if it is deemed necessary, you will be ordered to receive treatment.

Felony vs. Misdemeanor

Third offense DUIs are misdemeanors, but they are not all the same. A Tier 1 offense is a second-degree misdemeanor. Tier 2 and 3 offenses are first-degree misdemeanors.

Administrative Penalties

If you are convicted of a Tier 1 offense (see above), your driver's license will be suspended for 12 months. The suspension increases to 18 months for Tier 2 and 3 offenses. After the  driver's license suspension period has passed, the following requirements must be met before the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation will reinstate your license:

  • You must have completed a course at an alcohol safety school.
  • You must file an SR-22 for your financial liability policy, and it must be maintained for 3 years.
  • Your vehicle must be equipped with an ignition interlock device, and this must be maintained for 1 year.
  • You must pay a reinstatement fee.

Plea Options

It is often difficult to get a prosecutor to cut a deal when you have prior offenses in Pennsylvania, but there are cases where defendants are offered ungraded misdemeanors or reduction from DUI to reckless driving. You may benefit from the assistance of legal counsel when choosing how to plead and putting forth a competent.

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