As someone who has already faced arrest once for an impaired driving charge in Pennsylvania, you probably think you know what to expect. However, a second driving under the influence (DUI) charge will result in different penalties than a first offense.
If you expect things to go the exact same way they did the first time you went to court, you may be in for an unpleasant surprise. The penalties that you face both in and out of court may be more significant after a second conviction.
The state assesses more serious criminal penalties for second offenses
Many people plead guilty to their first DUI charge because they expect minimal consequences. You will receive the most lenient sentence after a first DUI charge, and the penalties will only increase from there. Your second arrest will more than double some of the penalties you face.
A first DUI charge usually means only probation, but a second DUI can result in between five days and six months in jail. The $300 fine for a first DUI may still be what you pay for a second one, but a judge could order you to pay as much as $2,500. You will face a 12-month license suspension and will have to install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle for a full year when you do finally get your license back.
Consequences out of court may be more serious as well
Pennsylvania drivers pay more for insurance after a DUI than people in most other states. Across the country, the cost of insurance goes up 99% after an impaired driving arrest. However, in Pennsylvania, the increase is 109%, and that figure is for the first DUI.
After a second DUI conviction, your insurance premium may go up even more. In fact, you may need to purchase a different policy altogether because you may now be in a much higher risk pool than you were before.
You could face more serious professional penalties as well. While an employer might overlook one DUI, two of them on your record will likely give them pause when they consider you for a promotion or a new job.
Fighting back against a second DUI charge can help you avoid serious penalties and lasting financial consequences.