The Pennsylvania legislature passed, and the Governor signed, an amendment to the state’s DUI statute this month that imposes additional penalties, including fines and jail time, for defendants found guilty of driving under the influence with a minor occupant in the vehicle. If such a violation occurs, the new law states that the defendant has committed a first degree misdemeanor and imposes penalties ranging from a $1,000 fine and community service for a first offense, to imprisonment of not less than six months for third and subsequent offenses.
The new changes should not impact the ARD program as a defendant is disqualified for ARD by statute if he has an occupant that is a minor under the age of 14. Thus, if a defendant is charged pursuant to this new amended law, a court should not automatically disqualify a defendant from entering the ARD program unless the occupant is under 14 years old.
Because of these changes in the law, it is important to have an experienced attorney to go over all of your defenses as well as any options you may have relating to ARD eligibility.
The Amended law reads as follows:
§ 3803. Grading
* * *
(5) An individual who violates section 3802 where a minor under 18 years of age was an occupant in the vehicle when the violation occurred commits a misdemeanor of the first degree.
§ 3804. Penalties
* * *
(c.1) Violation involving minor occupant.–An individual who violates section 3803(b)(5)(relating to grading), in addition to any penalty imposed in this chapter, shall be sentenced as follows:
(1) For a first offense, to:
(i) pay a fine of not less than $1,000; and
(ii) complete 100 hours of community service.
(2) For a second offense, to:
(i) pay a fine of not less than $2,500; and
(ii) undergo imprisonment of not less than one month nor more than six months.
(3) For a third or subsequent offense, undergo imprisonment of not less than six months nor more than two years.
If you have been charged with this offense, do not hesitate to contact one of Fairly & Lippy’s experienced Criminal Lawyers for a free consultation.