Being charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is one of the most serious traffic offenses one can commit. A DUI can result in possible jail time, a suspension or revocation of your driver’s license, soaring insurance costs, major fines, and community service. However, many first time DUI offenders have the option to undergo what is known as a DUI diversion program. A DUI diversion program may be able to help you by providing you with alcohol education courses or treatment and, ideally, the dismissal of your DUI charge.
In this post, we will take a look at what DUI diversion programs do and give a general overview of Pennsylvania’s DUI diversion program.
DUI diversion programs are available to first-time DUI offenders in many jurisdictions, and allow the offender to complete a series of classes, undergo alcohol treatment, submit to a random urine test, and complete community service. In exchange for participation in the program, the DUI charges against the offender are dropped, meaning that the offender can avoid criminal charges. The rationale behind these types of programs is that “everyone makes mistakes,” and less serious offenders should be able to work to have the DUI expunged from their record.
In most jurisdictions, diversion programs require the court to impose a suspended sentence on the defendant, which requires the defendant to:
If the offender complies with the requirements of the program, the DUI charges are dropped and they do not go on the offender’s record. If the offender fails to meet the standards to drop the DUI charges, the court can impose the original sentence on the offender.
Pennsylvania’s DUI diversion program is known as the “” (ARD) and is a pre-trial intervention program for non-violent offenders who have limited or no prior record. Although the ARD program is available to defendants who have committed a wide range of infractions, 90% of its participants have been arrested for DUI. Defendants in the program are fast-tracked into their county’s alcohol education classes and into any necessary treatment programs. They may also be required to perform varying amounts of community service and their license will be suspended for a period of time. After successfully completing the program, the offender may petition the court to have their DUI charges dismissed and the case expunged from their record. If the offender does not comply with the conditions of the program, they will be removed from the program and the case will be placed back on the trial list and it will proceed as normal.
issued by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine issued in 2018 recommends that states lower instituting a .05 blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit. Currently, most states, including Pennsylvania, have a BAC limit of .08. If adopted, the recommendation has the potential to criminalize driving after consuming an amount of alcohol that most of us consider moderate.
In fact, studies indicate that can easily have a BAC of over .05, meaning that many people who enjoy a glass of wine or two with dinner and then drive home could easily be putting themselves at risk of a DUI arrest. The proposal as far from law, however, and many organizations have expressed their opposition to lowering the legal BAC limit, including Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), the American Beverage Association, and the Distilled Spirits Council.
Manu people who are arrested for a low-BAC DUI are shocked about the severity of the consequences they are facing. Whether your BAC is .08 or 4 times the legal limit, will likely be arrested, put into the back of a police car, and taken to jail. If you are ultimately adjudicated guilty of violating South Carolina’s DUI statute, you will be facing a plethora of consequences, including the following:
In addition, the existence of a DUI conviction on your criminal record can make it extremely difficult to get a job, as it can cause potential employers to suspect that you may have a problem with drugs or alcohol. Similarly, a DUI conviction can cause issues when trying to obtain a professional license, gain admission to a college or university, or even rent an apartment.
If you are facing a DUI charge, it is important to keep in mind that an arrest does not always lead to a conviction, and there are often many defenses that a lawyer can raise to exclude or cast doubt upon the accuracy of evidence. Even if there are no legal defenses available in your case, a lawyer may be able to negotiate a plea bargain arrangement that allows you to avoid the most serious consequences associated with a DUI or even a conviction at all.
If you have been accused of drunk driving in the West Chester area, you should speak to an attorney as soon as you can. At Skinner Law, we are committed to representing the rights of individuals accused of impaired driving and work hard to resolve every case we take as favorably as possible. To schedule a free case evaluation with a DUI lawyer in West Chester, PA, call our office today at 610-436-1410 or .