A man in Tennessee drove himself to the local county prison to serve a weekend in prison for a driving under the influence conviction, and the problem was that he was driving drunk again. The local police had received a dispatch report that the man was driving on a suspended license and was also driving while intoxicated. The police located the man's vehicle and followed it all the way to the prison parking lot. At that point, the officer met with the man and believed that the man was under the influence of alcohol. The man was then taken into the prison to perform field sobriety tests. After failing the field sobriety tests, the man was arrested and transported to the local hospital for a blood draw. The man was then charged with a second offense of DUI, and the bail was set at $75,000.00. The man was unable to post the bail, so he will remain incarcerated during the pretrial phase of his case.
Penalty for Second Offense DUI in Pennsylvania
Based upon the man's poor performance on the sobriety tests, it is likely that his blood alcohol level would be above .16%. If he were charged with a DUI in Pennsylvania, a second offense, with that level of alcohol in his blood, he would be facing a mandatory minimum sentence of 90 days in jail, a $1,500.00 fine, an 18 month suspension of Pennsylvania driving privileges, and he would be required to install an ignition interlock system in his car for a year after serving the suspension. Because the charge is a first‑degree misdemeanor and carries a maximum sentence of up to 5 years in prison, it would trigger a Federal firearms prohibition. This means that the man would not be able to possess a firearm for the rest of his life.
The man would also be charged with Driving Under Suspension DUI-related under 75 Pa.C.S.A. § 1543(b)(1.1). If this were a first offense of violating this law, the man would face a mandatory sentence of 90 days in jail, $1,000.00 fine, and another 1 year suspension of Pennsylvania driving privileges.
Going to Prison Drunk
While this story may sound unique, I have had a few clients over the years that have reported to prison to start serving various sentences and were under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Most do not drive drunk to the prison but instead have someone else drive them. The thought is that the time will go by more quickly if the person is under the influence. A few years ago, I represented a Penn State student that reported drunk to the Centre County prison. The client was only sentenced to a few days in jail, possibly two or three, but the probation department refused to parole or release him from prison after serving his minimum. In Centre County, people serving sentences in the county prison cannot be released early if they are good, but they are held longer if they violate the rules and get misconduct. My client learned the hard way that going to prison under the influence was not such a good idea after all.