Driving under the influence of alcohol is always illegal in the state of Pennsylvania and even first time offenders may have to go to jail and experience the loss of their driver’s license. However, while even a first DUI offense is serious, the consequences of a DUI become much worse if you are a repeat offender.
In the state of Pennsylvania, a person who has been convicted of multiple DUI or alcohol-related offenses may be classified as a habitual offender. A habitual offender will face a larger fine, longer jail time, and may be subject to other additional penalties including the required installation of an ignition interlock device to test blood alcohol content before a vehicle will start. For many people, however, the worst consequence of being labeled a habitual offender is a revocation of the driver’s license.
Because being classified as a habitual offender has serious legal consequences that can have a major impact on your life, it is important to take action if you are facing DUI charges when you already have a criminal record for DUI, reckless driving involving alcohol or other related offenses. At the Pennsylvania criminal defense law firm of Lawrence R. Dworkin, we have successfully represented many clients classified as habitual offenders and helped to achieve the most favorable outcome possible. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you.
The penalties for DUI always increase after your first offense, however, under Pennsylvania law you are generally going to be considered a habitual offender based on DUI’s only for your third and subsequent conviction. If you have three DUI convictions and are labeled a habitual offender, you will be subject to a five-year revocation of your driver’s license. Each additional offense within a period of five years will then subsequently result in an additional license revocation for two years.
The rules regarding habitual offender status are set forth in Pennsylvania Vehicle Code section 1542 and impose this revocation automatically when you have the required number of convictions. This means that the only way to fight against being labeled a habitual offender and having your license revoked is to get help from a criminal defense lawyer. Your criminal defense lawyer may be able to help you defend yourself and be acquitted or have the charges dropped or dismissed.
If defenses are not available or likely to be successful, your criminal defense lawyer may also be able to help you explore other possible options including a plea bargain to a lesser offense so you do not get labeled with the habitual-offender designation. Your attorney will advise you as to whether this may be the best course of action and, if it is, will help you to negotiate the best possible plea arrangement.
Habitual offender status has serious consequences since the revocation of your driver’s license is a given when you are convicted on your third offense. This means it is vitally important to get legal help from an experienced DUI lawyer as soon as possible when facing a third or subsequent DUI arrest. The Pennsylvania criminal defense law firm of Lawrence R. Dworkin can help, so contact us today using our online form or via phone at 610-566-0610 to learn more about what we can do for you.