1. SERIOUS CHARGE. SERIOUS PENALTIES.
A Driving Under the Influence charge is very serious in Pennsylvania and carries harsh penalties as outlined in this DUI Penalties chart. Pennsylvania DUI law is quite complex and is different in each county. The procedure for handling a DUI case depends on various factors such as your prior arrests, blood alcohol level, driving behavior and prescription drug use, just to name a few. DUI cases are different in Chester County, Delaware County, Montgomery County, Berks County, Bucks County and Philadelphia County. It is vitally important you immediately contact an attorney to evaluate your case and ensure your interests are properly represented.
2. FIRST-TIME OFFENDERS
If it is your first DUI, you may be eligible for Pennsylvania’s pretrial diversion program called Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD). Individuals with a first-offense DUI will be considered for the ARD program if they have no history of prior delinquency or criminal activity, lend themselves to treatment and rehabilitation rather than punishment and who are unlikely to commit another crime. However, even if you are a first-time offender, you will not be eligible for ARD if:
- The crime involved firearms, drugs, violence, serious injury, offenses against the elderly or children, sexual offenses or a breach of the public trust;
- If an accident occurred with the offense and a third party was killed or seriously injured;
- If a person under the age of 14 was in the defendant’s car at the time of arrest;
- If the defendant has a poor driving record;
- If the defendant doesn’t waive his/her preliminary hearing;
- The District Attorney’s Office has the discretion to determine other factors that may disqualify a defendant from the ARD program;
- The judge has the final say as to whether the defendant is admitted onto the ARD program.
The eligibility requirements and application process for ARD are different in all Pennsylvania counties. The experienced attorneys at Ramsay & Ramsay can help you successfully apply for ARD in Chester County, Delaware County, Montgomery County, Berks County, Bucks County, Lancaster County and Philadelphia County. We will explain the application process, discuss your eligibility, help to ensure you are admitted into the program and you successfully complete it.
The completion of the ARD program offers the defendant many benefits:
- No need to plead guilty – the charges are held in abeyance
- Shortened driver’s license suspension
- Avoid or reduce jail time
- Reduced community service
- No criminal conviction
- Expungement of criminal record
If you have been charged with a DUI it is vitally important you contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible. Contact Ramsay & Ramsay for a free initial consultation.