Under current Pennsylvania state law, a second offense DUI is defined as a DUI occurring within 10 years of the disposition date of a prior DUI. In other words, it is the date the previous DUI was disposed of, by way of a guilty plea or entry onto an ARD Program, that is most critical. This can be confusing in that often times a DUI takes many months or even years to work its way through the criminal justice system.
Take a situation where a defendant was charged with a DUI occurring in March of 1999. Perhaps it took until March of 2001 until the defendant finally plead guilty to this DUI. Now say this same defendant is again charged with a DUI occurring in March of 2010. Although he may initially think that this is not a second offense since there is an 11 year gap between 1999 and 2010, he would be incorrect. The proper date to look at is the disposition date, March of 2001, which is clearly within the 10 year “look back” period.
A second offense DUI carries more severe penalties as compared to a first offense. Mandatory sentencing for a second offense DUI ranges from 5 days up to 90 days depending on a defendant’s blood alcohol content (BAC).
There is, however, a special program in place in Berks County which allows defendants to reduce the amount of mandatory jail time that they are facing. The Second Time Offender Program, known locally as STOP, allows defendants to take advantage of a combination of treatment and counseling in lieu of the mandatory prison sentence. Defendants are still required to spend a period of time in Berks County Prison, although, as previously stated, it is a significantly reduced sentence.
Our firm has successfuly represented many clients who were charged with a second offense DUI. Although our firm always looks for ways to beat our clients’ DUI cases, we find that many times STOP represents the best outcome for our clients. If you are charged with a second offense DUI and would like to discuss your case in more detail, including questions about the Second Time Offender Program, call today to set up a consultation with one of our attarneys.