attorney_benowits
DAVID CLARK
Criminal Defense Attorney

Penalties and Consequences of a First DUI in Philadelphia

Driving under the influence is taken very seriously in Philadelphia and as a result you can expect serious consequences if convicted of DUI. With that said, however, for a first time offense a Philadelphia DUI lawyer may be able to get some leniency as long as you meet certain criteria.

Read below to learn more about the different penalties you could face for a first DUI charge and what requirements you have to meet in order to qualify for a diversion program.

The penalties for first-time Philadelphia DUI arrests can range from entering a diversionary program like “ARD” to serving 72 hours of jail time and paying large court costs with a significant license suspension.

In order to qualify for the “ARD” program an individual may not have a prior conviction record, the individual should have a valid license and registration at the time of the DUI arrest, and no accident occurred. Even if one of these requirements is not met, an experienced Philadelphia DUI attorney may still help you qualify for ARD.  It is important to understand this little known fact and protect your rights, freedom and often livelihood.

If an individual does not qualify for the ARD program a sentence for a first-time Philadelphia DUI can range from probation to 72 hours in jail with a lengthy probation, license suspension and heavy court costs.  A first-time Philadelphia DUI sentence is determined by the amount of alcohol in a person’s system, whether a controlled substance is in their blood, or whether the individual refused a mandatory breath or blood test for DUI. First-time offenders with a Blood/Alcohol level between .08 and .10 may be sentenced to probation without a license suspension.  Between .10 and .16 can lead to a 48 hour jail sentence and 1 year license suspension with fines and costs up to $5,000.00. And a Blood/Alcohol level over .16 can lead to a minimum 72 hour jail sentence, a 1 year suspension and fines and costs up to $5,000.00.

An individual with any amount of controlled substances in their system like marijuana, or an individual who refused a Blood or Alcohol DUI test, faces the highest consequences.  These consequences consist of a minimum 72 hour jail sentence, a 1 year license suspension,  and costs up to $5,000.

Diversion Programs for First Time DUIs

True first-time Philadelphia DUI offenders, if they qualify, are often offered the DUI program by prosecutors after a request by their attorneys. However, ARD consideration requires; no prior convictions, a valid license, valid insurance and registration, and no accident.

If these conditions are met then an individual has the opportunity to save a jail sentence, limit their license suspension, and ultimately expunge their record. However it should be noted that an ARD expunged still counts as a first offense should the ARD recipient commit a second DUI offense within 10 years and a significant increase in jail-time could follow.