If you’re facing a first DUI in PA, you may immediately start to worry about jail time. Not only is jail an unpleasant experience, but it can also interrupt your work and family obligations. For most people facing a DUI, it’s the biggest thing that they worry about. Our criminal defense attorneys explain how to avoid jail time for a first DUI in PA.
Yes, jail time is mandatory for a first DUI in PA in cases of high or highest bodily alcohol content. If a person is convicted of DUI with a bodily alcohol content of .10 or higher, 48 hours in jail is the mandatory minimum. If the bodily alcohol content is .16 or higher, 72 hours in jail is required. However, jail time is not mandatory for a first DUI in PA if the bodily alcohol content is general or less than .10.
Jail time for first time DUI offenders
Jail time is possible for some categories of first-time DUI offenders. Whether or not jail time is a potential penalty depends on the bodily alcohol content of the offender. For the lowest bodily alcohol content, jail time is not an available sentence. The court may order probation for up to six months, a $300 fine and mandatory substance abuse treatment programs.
As the bodily alcohol content of the offender increases, jail time becomes a possibility. For the highest level of offenders, up to six months in jail is possible. Not only is jail possible, but there is a mandatory minimum of at least 72 hours for the highest-level offense. In addition, if you face other criminal charges in addition to drunk driving, there may be jail time associated with those offenses.
Avoiding jail time for a first DUI in PA
Even though jail time may be mandatory for a first DUI in PA, with the help of a criminal defense attorney, you may avoid jail time. Remember, you have the right to fight the charges against you. You have the right to go to trial. Your criminal defense attorney can help you determine if it’s in your best interests to take your case to trail.
In addition to trial, you may be able to reach a favorable plea bargain that avoids jail. The attorney for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania may agree to allow you to plead guilty to a reduced charge in exchange for saving the time and expense of a trial. You must work to show the state that they should offer you a favorable plea. To do this, you demonstrate both that there may be problems with the case against you and that you are unlikely to reoffend.
Responding appropriately to a criminal charge of DUI is a complex matter. The way you approach the case should be unique to the circumstances surrounding the case and what you hope to achieve. Your criminal defense attorney team can help you prepare the best possible defense for your case.