Roughly 1/3 of all people arrested for driving while under the influence will go on to re-offend, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.
To combat this problem, lawmakers around the country have stiffened the penalties for second offenses. For example:
- First offense – No minimum jail time required
- Second offense – Anywhere from five days to six months in jail
- First offense — $300
- Second offense – Up to $2,500
- First offense – None
- Second offense – One year
Refusal to be tested
- First offense – 1-year license suspension
- Second offense – 18-month license suspension
However, much of the outcome can depend on how much you had to drink. As any DUI attorney in Bucks County can tell you, the jail time, fines and license suspension period we listed above were all based on someone convicted of a DUI with a blood alcohol level of .08 to .099.
If your blood alcohol level was higher, you could face up to anywhere from six months to five years in prison and fines of up to $5,000.
And second-time DUI offenders are required by law to have an ignition interlock device installed on their car for up to a year, and may also be required to attend court-ordered alcohol rehab.
The best advice for avoiding a second DUI arrest is to avoid driving while impaired. But if you are stopped by the police, there are some things you can do to help yourself:
1. Don’t argue about being tested
Refusing to submit to a blood/breath/urine test following your arrest isn’t going to help your case. Pennsylvania is what’s known as an “implied consent” state, which means drivers agree to a chemical test if the police suspect they are under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
As we’ve already noted, refusing this test comes with its own punishments. The police don’t need a test to convict you, and can use your refusal as evidence against you in court.
2. Take your own test
Pennsylvania gives drivers in DUI cases the right to have their own blood test. It won’t replace the test the police conduct, but it can give your lawyer something with which to challenge the state’s case.
3. Keep a record
Try to make a note of everything you can remember about the circumstances of your arrest. Try to answer these questions:
- Where and when were you pulled over?
- Why did the police say you were stopped?
- Did they give you a breath test?
- Did they perform field sobriety tests? If so, what kind?
- What did you tell the police about how much you drank?
After you’ve made your record, consult with a DUI attorney in Bucks County. An experienced lawyer can help you achieve the best possible outcome following your arrest.
Your lawyer can come up with defense strategies, examine evidence, question witnesses and ensure your arrest was conducted properly.
If you’re seeking the help of an experienced DUI attorney in Bucks County, contact the Doylestown firm of Penglase & Benson. Our lawyers are dedicated to helping you protect your rights and bring your case to the best possible conclusion.