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Mandatory Minimum Sentences for First Time Offender DUI Convictions in Pennsylvania

Berks County DUI Defense Attorney Larry Miller, Jr.The penalties for a First Offense DUI Convictions depend upon the

  • Amount of alcohol in your blood;
  • Damages and injuries caused by the DUI;
  • Presence of a minor in your car under the age of 18 at the time of the DUI; and
  • Lastly, statements made in Court by injured parties.

Note that the Mandatory Minimum Sentences fall into ranges with significant differences in severity. It’s essential that you have our DUI Attorneys present to help you reduce the penalties as much as possible.

Three Tiers of Alcohol Impairment Under PA DUI Law

Pennsylvania DUI Law recognizes Three Tiers of Alcohol Impairment determined by your Blood Alcohol Count. Each Tier is defined below with the Mandatory Sentencing for each Tier.

  • General Impairment – BAC is between is .08 – .099 or if the driver refuses to take a chemical test. However, if the driver doesn’t agree to the chemical test, the penalties imposed are the same as for the Highest Rate.
    (Note that most first-time offenders that fall into this category apply for Berks County’s DUI Accelerated Rehabilitation Disposition (ARD) Program. If the District Attorney accepts you and you complete the ARD Program, avoid jail time; reduce the time the Court suspends your driver’s license, and have the Court remove the DUI Charge from your criminal record. The ARD Program is discussed further down on this page.)

    Sentences include
    • Probation not to exceed six months;
    • $300 fine;
    • DUI  classes;
    • Alcohol Highway Safety School;
    • Drug and Alcohol Treatment if ordered by the Court;
    • No jail time; and
    • Lastly, No mandatory loss of your driver’s license.
  • High Rate (Medium) (also referred to as Middle) – BAC is between .10 – .159.
    Sentences include
    • 48 hours of jail time followed by six months of parole;
    • One year suspension of your driver’s license;
    • Alcohol Highway Safety School;
    • Drug and Alcohol Treatment if ordered by the Court; and
    • Mandatory $500 fine or up to a $5,000 fine as determined by the Court;
  • Highest Rate (High) (also referred to as High) – BAC is .16 or above or if tests detect any trace cannabinoids (marijuana) in the blood.
    Sentences include
    • 72 hours of jail time followed by six months of parole;
    • One year suspension of your driver’s license;
    • Alcohol Highway Safety School;
    • Drug and Alcohol Treatment if ordered by the Court; and
    • Finally, a Mandatory $1,000 up to a $5,000 fine as determined by the Court.

The Court Can Dismiss A First-Time DUI Arrest And Remove It From Your Record

PA DUI ARD Program for DUI First Time OffendersPennsylvania DUI Law is not blind or insensitive to the fact that good and decent people can wind up with a DUI. So, if this is your first DUI charge, you may qualify for the first-time offender Accelerated Rehabilitative Discharge (ARD) Program. ARD is a rehabilitation program run by the Berks County District Attorney designed to instill self-awareness and educate you about the effects of alcohol. The goal of ARD is to prevent you from receiving future DUIs. You must apply to the District Attorney, and the District Attorney must accept you into the program.

Qualifying For Berks County’s DUI ARD Program

To qualify, you must

  • be a first-time DUI offender;
  • not had had a minor under the age of 14 in your car when police arrested you for the DUI; and
  • not have a prior misdemeanor or felony conviction in Pennsylvania and The United States;
  • not have caused serious bodily injury resulting from your DUI except for yourself;
  • have had a valid, unsuspended, non-revoked, or canceled PA driver’s license when arrested for the DUI;
  • have the arresting police officer send any refusal forms to both PennDOT and the District Attorney’s Office before your ARD hearing; and
  • lastly, apply for the ARD program at your preliminary hearing.

Have our DUI Attorneys make sure everything is in order, and you know what to say and how to say it. Applying correctly for ARP is crucial because if you’re not accepted there is no appeal.

Advantages of Berks County’s ARD Program

ARD is the answer to a first-time DUI offender’s prayer because of you

  • lose your driving privileges for 0, 30, or 60 days instead of a mandatory one-year suspension for a DUI conviction;
  • don’t have to go to trial;
  • although the court places you under supervision, can often still to go to work, so your DUI doesn’t interrupt your income;
  • most crucially, after completing the ARD program
    • have your DUI charges dismissed; and
    • finally, you can petition the Court (called a petition for an expungement) to remove the DUI arrest from your record.

What Does It Mean To Have The DUI Arrest Removed From Your Record?

When the court removes (expunges) your DUI from your criminal record, the court seals your record to everyone except the District Attorney. Therefore

  • the DUI arrest will not show up on criminal background checks, and
  • very importantly, you can honestly answer no to the question “Have you ever been convicted of a crime?” on applications for employment, loans, and admissions to schools.

Although your DUI arrest is not visible to background checks, it’s not gone. If you’re arrested again for a DUI, the District Attorney will know about the prior arrest and charged as a Second Offender.

What Does the Berks County DUI ARD Program Include?

If the District Attorney accepts you into Berks County’s ARD Program, the court

  • places you on a One-Year Probation;
  • suspends your driving privileges for 0, 30 or 60 days;
    • 0 days if your BAC (Blood Alcohol Count) was .o8%-.99%
    • 30 days if your BAC was .10%-.159%
    • 60 days if
      • Your BAC was .16% or higher or unknown; or
      • Police charged you with driving under the influence of drugs; or
      • The DUI resulted in bodily injury or damage to a vehicle or other property.
  • Requires that you perform 16 hrs. of Community Service in Berks County;
  • Mandates that you attend Safe Driving Classes; and
  • Lastly, requires that you pay Court Fines and Costs including the cost of the ARD program.

Reasons Why The District Attorney Can Remove You from Berks County’s DUI ARD Program

The District Attorney will remove you from the ARP Program if you

  • violate your probation (police arrest you); or
  • drive with a suspended license;
  • fail to comply with the program requirements; or
  • lastly, fail to pay fines and costs.

For more details about Berks County’s DUI ARD Program, visit the Berks County DUI – ARD website.

What is Fast-Track ARD?

Our DUI Attorneys will determine if you qualify for Fast Track ARD. If you are eligible, the court may reduce the number of times they require you to appear before a judge to as few as two. Reducing the number of court appearances saves you time and emotional stress.

The sooner you get out proven DUI Attorneys involved in your DUI Charge the better we can defend you. Contact Us Online or Call Us at 610-670-9000 today.

Miller Law Group Berks County Law Offices in West Lawn, PA

Miller Law Group’s Berks County Law Offices are in West Lawn near Reading, PA.

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