Have You Been Charged With a 3rd DUI Offense?
In 2004, Pennsylvania revised its DUI laws and made DUI penalties much harsher, especially for a 2nd DUI, 3rd DUI and subsequent offenses. If you get a 3rd DUI offense within ten years, the penalties and consequences will be severe – and serious enough to potentially change your life.
A 3rd offense DUI conviction will leave you with a record and may make it more difficult for you to get a job. Jail times, mandatory license suspension and penalties can negatively impact your finances and your ability to take care of your family. In addition, there is the stigma of having a 3rd offense charge against you. Some people find their relationships and their positions in communities are threatened.
Penalties for Third Offenses
As with second offense DUIs, third DUI consequences in Pennsylvania depend on the BAC (Blood Alcohol Content):
BAC of .08 to .099% or an undetermined BAC
This is considered “general impairment” and is classified as a 2nd degree misdemeanor. Penalties include a 12-month license suspension, up to two years in prison, one year of ignition interlock device use, and fines of $500-$5,000. In addition, a court may order treatment for addiction.
BAC of .10 to .159% BAC
This is considered a 1st degree misdemeanor. It will result in fines of $1,500-$10,000, an 18-month license suspension, and prison time of 90 days to a maximum of five years. Before license reinstatement, drivers will need to use an ignition interlock device for one year. They may also be ordered into addiction treatment or rehabilitation.
BAC of .16% or higher
This level of penalty is reserved for drivers with an extremely high BAC, but also drivers who refuse BAC or breath testing. This is considered a 1st degree misdemeanor and is subject to the harshest 3rd offense DUI penalties. If convicted, drivers will face 1-5 years of prison time, fines of $2,500-$10,000 and license suspension of 18 months. They will need to use an ignition interlock device for one year before license reinstatement and they may have to undergo addiction treatment.
Some counties in Pennsylvania have special DUI treatment programs and agreements for drivers convicted of a 3rd offense under this BAC level. If they qualify, drivers get to complete their jail time in a local jail and through home arrest. They are also offered treatment for substance abuse. These programs are designed to help drivers with addiction issues stay in their communities while addressing the addiction.
What Makes Third Offenses Unique?
While penalties for 3rd offense DUI charges are high, Pennsylvania law also recognizes the need for treatment as well as enforcement. Judges usually require drivers to complete some form of addiction treatment. At this stage, the goal is to prevent the driver from driving drunk or hurting anyone again.
When someone is charged with a 3rd offense DUI, they are usually charged at the highest level. This is because drivers who get three offenses in ten years are usually struggling with substance abuse or other issues. They may not be noticeably drunk at lower BAC levels. Since drivers tend to face the highest penalties possible in this category, it is important to contact an attorney immediately if you’re charged with a DUI and have two previous convictions in the past ten years.
Choose a Local Attorney for Your 3rd Offense DUI Charge
When looking for a DUI defense attorney for a third offense, look for a local attorney with prior success in defending 3rd offense DUI clients. At MPL Law, our attorneys are familiar with local judges and courts, addiction treatment programs, and any DUI treatment courts or programs offering jail and house arrest for drivers. If you need a local attorney focused on DUI 3rd offense defense, contact MPL Law for a consultation today.
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