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What Are the Penalties for a 3rd DUI in PA?


1/4/2021

If you were charged with or convicted of your 3rd DUI in Pennsylvania, you are likely concerned about your potential penalties. You probably know that the penalties for driving under the influence in PA increase with each successive conviction. If you are facing a 3rd DUI, you should contact an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to ensure that your rights are protected. 

Penalties for a 3rd DUI in PA

Although your exact sentence for a 3rd DUI depends on the facts of your case and the judge’s discretion, you can likely expect to have your driver license suspended for a period of time and to be ordered to undergo substance abuse treatment.

In Pennsylvania, penalties for a 3rd driving under the influence conviction depend on the driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC).

For a BAC of .08 to .099, potential penalties include:

  • 10 days to two years in jail;
  • One-year driver license revocation;
  • Fines between $500 and $5,000;
  • One-year ignition interlock requirement; and
  • Court-ordered substance abuse treatment. 

For a BAC of .10 to .159, potential penalties include:

  • 90 days to five years in jail; 
  • 18-month driver license revocation;
  • Fines between $1,500 and $10,000; 
  • One-year ignition interlock requirement; and
  • Court-ordered substance abuse treatment. 

For a BAC of .16 or higher, potential penalties include:

  • One to five years in prison;
  • 18-month driver license revocation;
  • Fines between $2,500 to $10,000;
  • One-year ignition interlock requirement; and 
  • Court-ordered substance abuse treatment. 

Other penalties you may face for a 3rd DUI in Pennsylvania are employment consequences, increased rates for car insurance, and another charge on your criminal record. Regardless of the penalty, a 3rd DUI in Pennsylvania will likely have serious consequences. 

How a Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help 

If you face a 3rd DUI in PA, you should consult an experienced PA criminal defense attorney about your case. An attorney will explain PA DUI laws for a 3rd offense as well as the specific charges and penalties you face, based on the facts of your case. An attorney will fight to have your charges dropped or reduced. If this is not possible, your attorney will take your case to trial. At trial, your attorney will argue any possible defenses to convince the jury not to convict you. If you are convicted, your attorney will present mitigating facts to persuade the court to impose a lesser sentence. 

Possible Defenses

A third DUI in PA can have a serious and lasting impact in your life. Ideally, your attorney will be able to negotiate with the prosecuting attorney so that you can plead to a lesser charge. If, however, your case goes to trial, your defense attorney will argue whichever defenses apply to your case. Possible defenses to a 3rd offense DUI in PA include:

  • The results of your BAC test are inaccurate;
  • The testing equipment or process were incorrect;
  • The police lacked probable cause to stop you; or 
  • The police lacked probable cause to subject you to DUI testing.

Your attorney will argue any of the defenses that apply to your case during trial in the hopes of convincing the jury not to convict you of a 3rd DUI in PA. A jury may have the option of convicting on a lesser offense or acquitting you of the charges entirely. 

Mitigating Factors 

If a jury convicts you of a 3rd DUI in PA, your attorney will present facts in mitigation to persuade the court to impose a lesser sentence. Mitigating facts are those that may encourage the court to decrease prison time, lower fines, and potentially allow for a probationary sentence in place of incarceration. Examples of mitigating factors your attorney can present are:

  • The defendant played a lesser role in the crime;
  • The victim also bares responsibility for the crime; 
  • The crime did not cause harm or injury to another person;
  • The defendant lacks a criminal record outside of the three DUIs;
  • The defendant committed the crime out of necessity; 
  • The defendant suffers from a mental health issue or substance abuse disorder; and
  • The defendant accepts responsibility for their crime and shows remorse. 

The above list is not exhaustive. There may be other details related to your case or your criminal or personal history that the court would find relevant to your sentencing exposure. 

How Can Wimmer Criminal Defense Help You?

At Wimmer Criminal Defense, we provide straightforward, trustworthy criminal defense services for our clients. Attorney Lauren A. Wimmer has represented numerous clients in both state and federal court on a wide variety of charges. She will fight to help you get the best possible outcome in your case. Call us today or fill out our online form to schedule an initial consultation and learn more about how Wimmer Criminal Defense can help you.