Alternative Penalties in a Pennsylvania DUI Case10 Jul 2020, by DUI in
Written by Timothy Czekaj
A decision to drive after a few drinks can bring serious consequences including jail time, fines, revocation of driving privileges, loss of your job, and even undermine custody arrangements. But there is relief for some in Pennsylvania through alternative penalties for DUI.
Because of the seriousness of convictions for driving under the influence, if charged with DUI you should never represent yourself in court. You need DUI criminal defense lawyers like those at Czekaj Law, LLC. Not only do we use our vast experience to try to resolve your case without conviction, but if you are found guilty, we fight to get the best possible outcome in sentencing so you can get your life back on track as quickly as possible.
Call (717) 275-9770 for a free legal consultation about your DUI case.
Common Pennsylvania DUI Penalties
Under Pennsylvania law, several factors are considered in determining penalties for DUI. These include: if you’ve previously been convicted of DUI; if anyone was injured because of your DUI; how high your BAC (blood alcohol content) was; and any other relevant factor.
Typically, pursuant to state law, the penalties would be:
- First-Offense DUI – Up to six months in jail, up to six months of probation, a fine of up to $5,000, and up to a 12-month license suspension
- Second-Offense DUI – Between five days and five years in jail, a fine of up to $10,000, and a 12 to 18-month license suspension
- Third-Offense DUI – Between 10 days and seven years of incarceration, up to $15,000 in fines, and a 12 to 18-month license suspension
Along with those consequences, your DUI conviction likely will require mandatory substance abuse treatment and attending driver safety courses. Those with multiple offenses could also be required to install an Interlock Ignition Device (IID) in their cars. The device requires the driver to blow into it and prevents the car from starting if a certain BAC is registered.
There may be times that if you enter an in-patient treatment program, days spent in the program would be applied to your jail sentence as time served. Seeking such treatment sends a message to the court that you are serious about rehabilitation and getting the help you need to not repeat such a serious offense. But this type of arrangement must be formalized by agreement with the court and is why you need DUI counsel working for your best interests.
Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition as an Alternative DUI Penalty
The good news is that for some first-time DUI offenders in Pennsylvania, there is an alternative to the jail, probation, hefty fine, and lost driving privileges. The program is called Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition, or ARD, and it is focuses on treatment instead of punishment.
To be eligible for ARD:
- it must be your first DUI charge (no previous charges in the past 10 years)
- there must have been no one hurt from your DUI
- there must not have been a child under 14 in the vehicle with you at the time of the offense
By working with a DUI defense attorney at our firm, we will help you apply to the program. If you are admitted to ARD, there are requirements to complete that if you do so successfully, the charges will be dropped, and you will not have a criminal record. However, the DUI suspension will remain on your driving history, and a subsequent charge for DUI may be treated as a second offense for sentencing purposes.
Typically, if in ARD, you will be required to:
- be on court supervision for at least six months
- pay restitution and all court fines and fees possibly serve a license suspension of 30 to 90 days
- complete an alcohol highway safety class at your expense
- receive alcohol/drug treatment if court so orders
Should you fail to complete the ARD requirements, the charges against you will be reinstated and if found guilty you face the consequences stated above.
Call a DUI Lawyer for Information About Alternative Penalties
Making the mistake of drinking and driving can be life-altering. Beyond all the statutory penalties, there could be collateral consequences to your employment or your family dynamic. Never try to resolve your legal troubles alone. You need experienced criminal attorney knowledgeable in DUI law and what alternatives there might be if convicted.