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First DUI Charges

If you were charged with a first offense DUI, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney to help you through each stage of the case. Many individuals charged with a first DUI will qualify for the Accelerated Rehabilitative Discharge or ARD program. This program was created to help individuals charged with a first-time offense to avoid a criminal record. If an individual successfully completes the ARD program, the prosecutor with the District Attorney’s Office will dismiss the charges.

In addition, the driver’s license suspension period, if any, is limited. After the charges are dismissed, the individual will have no criminal conviction and can petition to clear their criminal record through the expunction process.

If you are not eligible for the ARD program, a qualified attorney may be able to help you fight the charges and retain your driving privileges. It is important to consult with an attorney to discuss your options, including reviewing the criminal justice process and what penalties you are facing. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation of your criminal case.

Chester County First Offense DUI Attorney

If you were arrested for DUI in Chester County, Delaware County, or Montgomery County, contact a criminal defense attorney at the Skinner Law Firm to discuss your case. A knowledgeable attorney will help you learn what you need to do right now to protect yourself, your criminal record and your driving privileges.

The attorneys at Skinner Law Firm can assist you in fighting for the best possible outcome for your case. Call us to discuss the case today.


Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) DUI License Suspension Suspension Periods

In Pennsylvania, the law allows certain first-time offenders to enter the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) program. Under the program, the court will impose a driver’s license suspension for offenders in the ARD program based on certain blood alcohol concentration (BAC) ranges. The suspensions are as follows:

  • No suspension if the driver’s BAC is less than .10%;
  • A 30-day suspension if the driver’s BAC is .10% to less than .16%;
  • A 60-day suspension if the driver’s BAC is .16% or above, the defendant refused chemical testing, or the DUI involved bodily injury or a vehicle accident; or
  • A 90-day suspension if the driver was a minor under the age of 21 years old.

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 Criminal and License Records After a DUI

A DUI dismissed by ARD may be expunged. A DUI conviction cannot be expunged. In addition, a DUI dismissed by ARD or a DUI conviction remains on a driver’s Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) record for a period of 10 years.

In the case of an ARD defendant, the charge will remain on his or her record for 10 years, provided the person was not a commercial driver at the time of the violation, and/or the driver’s operating privileges were not revoked as a habitual offender.


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Penalties for First Time DUI Offenses in Pennsylvania

Not every driver arrested for a first DUI will be eligible for an ARD resolution. If the ARD resolution is not an option, it is important to understand the maximum and minimum penalties that apply to first time driving under the influence convictions.

A first DUI involving a BAC of 0.08% to .099% is an ungraded misdemeanor. For a first DUI in Pennsylvania with this BAC, the mandatory minimum sentence is:

  • Mandatory 6 months of probation
  • Pay a $300 fine;
  • Successfully complete the alcohol highway safety school;
  • Complete alcohol or drug treatment, if ordered; and
  • No license suspension

A first DUI involving a BAC of .10 to .159% is an ungraded misdemeanor. For a first DUI in Pennsylvania with this BAC, the mandatory minimum sentence is:

  • At least 48 hours in jail (although the court can impose up to 6 months in jail);
  • A fine between $500 and $5,000;
  • Successfully complete  the alcohol highway safety school;
  • Complete alcohol or drug treatment, if ordered; and
  • 12 months license suspension

A first DUI involving a BAC of .10% to .159% is an ungraded misdemeanor. For a first DUI in Pennsylvania with this BAC, the mandatory minimum sentence is:

  • At least 72 hours in jail (although the court can impose up to 6 months in jail);
  • A fine between $1,000 and $5,000;
  • Successfully complete the alcohol highway safety school;
  • Complete alcohol or drug treatment, if ordered; and
  • 12 months license suspension

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DUI Driver’s License Suspension for a First DUI under Pennsylvania Law

Pennsylvania law mandates a driver’s license suspension for a DUI conviction depends on various factors, such as BAC when driving, other traffic convictions at the time of a guilty plea, a refusal, or whether the driver was under the influence of any controlled substances. The suspensions are:

  • No suspension for first offense if the driver has a BAC below .10%;
  • A 12-month license suspension for first offense if the driver has a BAC greater than or equal to .10% and less than .16%; minors with a BAC greater than or equal to .02% or certain commercial and school bus drivers;
  • A 12-month license suspension for first offense if the driver has a BAC greater than or equal to .16%, a chemical testing refusal, or a driver convicted of driving under the influence of a controlled substance

In certain cases, a person convicted of a first time DUI may be eligible for an Occupational Limited License (OLL) after serving 60 days of their suspension. The first 60 days of a license suspension must be served. A driver who is approved for an OLL may only drive during designated times for work, school, and medical purposes. An OLL may only be issued once every 5 years.


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Aggressively Fighting First DUI Charges in Delaware County and Chester County

If you have been arrested for a first DUI, then contact an experienced DUI attorney to fight your case. Michael J. Skinner can help you assess whether you are eligible for ARD, or assist you at each stage of the criminal process to protect your rights and driving privileges. Contact the Skinner Law Firm at (610) 436-1410 today for a consultation about your first DUI offense.

Whether your case involves a breath test, a blood test or a refusal to submit to testing, we can help you fight the charges. Find out what you need to do right now to protect your driver’s license, your criminal record, and your good name. Let us put our experience to work for you.

This page was last updated on Wednesday, December 30, 2015.

Michael Skinner
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