DUI charges are very serious in Pennsylvania. Those who have been arrested need to know exactly what type of consequences they may face so that they can make informed decisions about pursuing a defense strategy.
That said, what you will find is that every DUI case is unique. There are many different factors that contribute to the potential consequences that someone may face. Below are a few examples of how the process of prosecuting impaired driving charges can play out and what to expect.
Is it a first offense?
If it’s a first offense and the accused doesn’t have any prior DUIs on their record, then the offense will likely be classified as an ungraded misdemeanor in Pennsylvania. A conviction can lead to a $300 fine, six months of probation and the need to take an alcohol safety class.
After that, for each subsequent offense, the ramifications get more severe. For example, if someone has one prior offense, then they could face a license suspension for 12 months, up to six months in jail and a fine of as much as $2,500 for a second offense. They may also have to use an ignition interlock system for the next year.
If a motorist has two or more DUIs on their record, then the fine for a subsequent offense could be increased to $5,000 and they could spend up to two years in prison. They could still lose their license for the next 12 months and have to use an ignition interlock device. The court can also order them to take an alcohol treatment course.
Additionally, it’s important not just to consider the immediate ramifications. There can be a lot of long-term issues that people can run into as a result of having a DUI on their record. For example, a convicted driver’s insurance rates could increase. Additionally, if they count on having a vehicle for work, their very job could be in jeopardy. Spending time in jail or simply not having a driver’s license for months on end could be prohibitive and keep them out of work, costing them tens of thousands of dollars in the long run.
For all of these reasons and more, it’s quite important for those who are facing DUI charges to understand all of their legal defense options. Seeking legal guidance as quickly as possible is usually the best way to begin responding to impaired driving charges.