Q: My ex-husband and father of my son had his 1st DUI in 2004 and did the ARD program, his 2nd DUI was in 2012 and he had house arrest, probation and 12-month license suspension. Now he had his 3rd DUI in December 2017. It was my understanding that this would count as his 2nd since the 1st was over 10 years ago. However, I looked up the docket sheet on the public website and it says the charge is: 2 75 § 3802 §§ C* DUI: Highest Rate of Alcohol (BAC .16+) 1st Off. Why would this be only the 1st offense? The offense from August 2012 says: 6 75 § 3802 §§ C* DUI: Highest Rate of Alcohol (BAC .16+) 1st Off and 2 75 § 3802 §§ A1** M DUI: Gen Imp/Inc of Driving Safely – 2nd Off. These all happened in different counties (Allegheny, Butler and Beaver) if that makes a difference, all in Pennsylvania. (MacDonald, PA)
A: The police normally charge DUI’s as a first offense because they usually do not have access to a comprehensive criminal record check at the time of arrest. The charge is more accurately amended when the DA has had time to run a more thorough background check once the case is sent to the Common Plea level. It is likely his prior DUIs will be discovered and this will be his second in ten years, thus charged as a second DUI. He won’t receive any benefit for spreading his drinking and driving among different counties, they are all charged under state law.