Will this be my first or second DUI charge? Is there a way to avoid jail time?

Asked over 2 years ago - East Stroudsburg, PA

I received my first DUI in NJ, in August of 2007. I was recently pulled over and charged with a DUI in PA (March 2012). Will I be charged with a second DUI or first because I'm in another state? My BAC level was above .16%, is there a way to avoid jail time?

Attorney answers (4)

  1. Jason S Dunkle

    Contributor Level 12


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Under PA law, prior offenses do include convictions or preliminary disposition in other states if the offense in the other state is substantially similar to PA's DUI law. It is highly likely that a DUI in another state would be substantially similar to PA's DUI law. The next issue is whether the NJ offense appears on your criminal background records. If the NJ DUI is not on your records, then the DA would not know about the offense, and this could be treated as a first offense. It is not your duty to tell the officer or DA of the prior offense, and you should NOT tell the prosecution about the prior offense. You should get an experienced DUI defense attorney in your area to handle the case, and you should tell that attorney about the prior. I have had NJ DUIs appear on records, but I have represented other clients that didn't have the prior appear.

    Whether this is a 1st or 2nd offense, you are facing mandatory jail time. A 1st offense with a BAC over. 16% is 72 hours to 6 months incarceration, whereas a 2nd offense carries a 90 day to 5 year sentence. The best way to attempt to avoid jail time or reduce the penalties is to hire a good defense lawyer.

    Jason S. Dunkle, Esquire
    D & H Law Group, P.C.
    State College, PA 16801

  2. Ellis B. Klein


    Contributor Level 14


    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . The answer is - it depends. If the DA does not discover it then it will be considered a first. If he finds out then it is a second and if you are above .16 then there is a mandatory 90 day minimum sentence. Hire a local lawyer immediately.

  3. Brian Vincent Manchester

    Contributor Level 10


    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . This is a second offense and you would be subject to a mandatory minimum of 90 days in jail to five years in jail.

    An alleged blood or breath reading is juet that. Alleged. There are multiple problems with blood and breath testing in this state. You must seek out an attorney that regularly challenges the scientific aspects of the test and the field sobriety tests as well.

  4. Michael Lawrence Doyle


    Contributor Level 20

    Answered . This is a second offense, which requires a 90 day mandatory minimum. You may get lucky, since there are cases where the state makes mistakes with there records, things do not get transferred from state to state, etc. Those mistakes are becoming rarer and rarer. You need to find a good criminal defense attorney to see if there are defenses, as you will spend 90 days incarcerated if convicted of 2nd offense over .16

    Michael L. Doyle
    (215) 735-5900

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A DUI arrest must be based on probable cause: the officer must have enough evidence to arrest, as determined by a combination of factors.

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