Penalties for DUI convictions vary with repeated convictions and different BAC levels.
In its basic terms, sentencing for a conviction of Driving Under the Influence (DUI) in Pennsylvania has three major components: Imprisonment, Fines, and Drug/Alcohol Treatment. In most instances, highway safety school is also require. All DUI offenses in Pennsylvania are graded or ungraded misdemeanors. This means that the maximum penalty (applied to repeat offenders) for DUI convictions is graded as a first-degree misdemeanor and imprisonment cannot exceed five years. For those DUI convictions graded as a second-degree misdemeanor, imprisonment cannot exceed two years. Finally, DUI convictions that are ungraded or third-degree may not exceed one year in prison.
Along with the standard penalties for a DUI comes sentence enhancements based on two factors. First, a prior offense will enhance the sentencing of any subsequent DUI conviction. In Pennsylvania, “prior offense” is defined as a conviction, adjudication of delinquency, juvenile consent decree, acceptance of Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD), or other form of preliminary disposition under the current and prior DUI statutes, or for a substantially similar DUI offense in another state occurring within the last ten years. Acceptance of ARD counts as a prior offense even if you fail to complete the program and must stand trial for your DUI. It does not matter if you have been sentenced for your prior DUI at the time you are tried for a second DUI. The only factor that counts is a conviction.
The second sentencing enhancement comes with a refusal of chemical testing. If an officer asks you to submit to a formal breathalyzer or a blood test, do not refuse. Although the Commonwealth cannot force you to take a chemical test, it will punish you if you refuse. A refusal will subject you to stiffer terms of imprisonment and fines. Because the refusal is not an element of the DUI offense, the Commonwealth must wait until sentencing to prove your refusal in order to have the enhanced penalties applied.
At Morrow & Artim, we offer a no cost, no obligation review of your DUI or criminal law matter via a short telephone consult or an email reply. If both you and our firm agree that legal representation is required, an in-office appointment will be scheduled.Call Morrow & Artim today at 412-823-8003 to obtain the legal help that you deserve.