There are many places and reasons to drink in Philadelphia, and many Philadelphians take advantage of those opportunities. There is nothing wrong with consuming alcohol, but some of the choices people make after consuming alcohol can get them into trouble. One of these decisions is to drive a vehicle after drinking too much alcohol. If the person is caught, they may end having to face the severe penalties of a DUI.
These penalties can include jail time, license suspension, fines and others. However, if it is a person's first DUI in the past 10 years, they may qualify for slightly less harsh penalties through an accelerated rehabilitative disposition (ARD). In addition to being the person's first DUI in 10 years, no one besides the driver may be injured in an accident and there must have been no passengers in the vehicle younger than 14.
If a person meets those requirements and is allowed to participate in ARD, then the following penalties may be imposed. The person will be on probation for six to 12 months, they will pay fines, may have to complete an alcohol and drug assessment and their license will be suspended for a period of time, unless the person's blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was below .10 at the time of the offense. Once the person has completed all the requirements, they may motion the court to dismiss the charges against them.
These penalties are not as harsh as the normal penalties for a DUI, but the person may avoid any of the penalties, depending on the circumstances. There are defenses available to people who are charged with a DUI. Many times these defenses start with whether the person was stopped legally.
Many people are charged with DUIs each year in Philadelphia. These DUIs can carry harsh penalties for even first time offenders. Nonetheless, defenses may be available, and everyone is innocent until proven guilty. Experienced attorneys understand these potential defenses and may be able to protect one's rights.
Source: LCB.state.PA.us, "DUI law grading and sentencing guide" accessed on Aug. 10, 2015