In generations past, driving under the influence reflected "poor judgment," but in many instances law enforcement would look the other way or even give the driver a ride home with a stern word of caution and nothing more. Those days are gone.
DUI is a serious matter and law enforcement appropriately treats it as such. Alcohol is a major contributing factor in many of the personal injury and wrongful death cases I handle. It should come as no surprise that our lawmakers have taken a much harsher stance on what used to be viewed as "poor judgment." Therefore, should you find yourself facing a DUI charge, choosing the right attorney matters. I am that attorney.
Most DUI defendants are good people who made a poor decision. For many first time offenders, the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) option provides an avenue by which defendants can earn a dismissal of their DUI charge. Under the ARD Program, a first time DUI defendant can petition the District Attorney's Office for admittance into the Program wherein you are placed on supervision, undergo drug and alcohol evaluation, serve a period of probation and likely incur a license suspension. At the conclusion of that probationary period, the case is dismissed and your criminal record expunged. Not every defendant is eligible for the ARD Program but it provides a unique and favorable opportunity to resolve your DUI charge. I can guide you on your eligibility for this Program.
Under the ARD Program, the Pennsylvania Legislature has mandated license suspension of varying durations, depending on the level of intoxication. The Court has no latitude in the imposition of these suspensions which are as follows:
- B.A.C. .08 - .099% no suspension
- B.A.C. .10 – .159% 30 day suspension
- B.A.C. .16% or above 60 day suspension.
Suspensions and punishments increase significantly for repeat offenders. You should also be aware that there is no Pennsylvania Occupational License available for any suspension under 60 days, meaning that in all likelihood an ARD license suspension will have to be served.
If you are not eligible for the ARD Program, or other defenses exist, it is critical that your attorney investigate all of the potential defenses to your charge. Was the traffic stop legal? Are there suppression of evidence issues? Was the B.A.C. testing done timely and in accordance with the law and with appropriately calibrated equipment? These are all critical inquiries that your attorney must make. I am familiar with all of these matters and look forward to aggressively defending you should you face a DUI charge. Below is an outline of DUI sentence ranges:
B.A.C. .08 to .099% Incapable Safe Driving
Ungraded Misdemeanor 6 months maximum; no license suspension; no mandatory time; $300 fine
Ungraded Misdemeanor 6 months maximum; 12 month suspension; 5 days; $300-$2,500 fine
Second Degree Misdemeanor 2 year maximum; 12 months suspension; 10 days; $500 - $5,000 fine
Same as Third
|High Rate DUI
B.A.C. .10 to .159% Gen. Imp. With Accident
|Ungraded Misdemeanor; 6 month maximum; 12 month suspension; 2 days; $500-$5,000 fine||Ungraded Misdemeanor; 6 months maximum; 12 month suspension; 30 days; $750-$5,000 fine||First Degree Misdemeanor; 5 year maximum; 18 month suspension; 90 days; $1,500-$10,000 fine||First Degree Misdemeanor; 5 year maximum; 18 month suspension; 360 days; $1,500-$10,000 fine|
|Highest Rate DUI
B.A.C. .16%+Refusals Drug DUIs
|Ungraded Misdemeanor; 6 month maximum; 12 month suspension; 3 days; $1,000-$5,000 fine||First Degree Misdemeanor; 5 year maximum; 18 month suspension; 90 days; $1,500+ fine||First Degree Misdemeanor; 5 year maximum; 18 month suspension; 360 days; $2,500+ fine||Same as Third|