On July 14, 2017, the Superior Court of Pennsylvania ruled that Requirements for driving under influence offenders (-75 Pa.C. S .§§ 3816) did not require that all defendants charged with Driving Under the Influence (DUI) submit to a Court Reporting Network (CRN) Evaluation as a condition of bail. Specifically, the court found that this requirement was only necessary following a defendant’s conviction for DUI or entry into Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD).
A CRN evaluation is a uniform pre-screening evaluation of individuals convicted of DUI to determine and recommend the necessary clinical treatment of the individual to the court. The findings of CRN evaluations are submitted to the court and utilized to determine appropriate sentencing, probation, and/or ARD conditions.
In Commonwealth v. Parsons, during a traffic stop the defendant was discovered to be in possession of a small amount of marijuana and drug paraphernalia. He was charged with DUI , resisting arrest, possession of a small amount of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia, and four summary traffic offenses. The trial court discovered that Defendant had not received a CRN evaluation and, rather than merely providing him the opportunity to take one, the trial court modified Defendant’s bail conditions to require him to complete a CRN evaluation. The Court denied Defendant’s motion to reconsider the bail modification and, consequently, Defendant appealed.
On appeal, PA Superior Court agreed with the Defendant and found that the Pennsylvania statute (75 Pa.C. S .§§ 3816) did not require every defendant charged with DUI to undergo a CRN evaluation as a condition of bail and such a requirement is an invalid imposition of a non-monetary bail condition. Rather, the Court held that the statute stated that non-monetary bail conditions unrelated to reporting or travel may be imposed to ensure the defendant complies with conditions of bail and appears at trial. However, the statute does not state that non-monetary bail conditions can be imposed for any other reason. In Parsons, the Court drew a distinction between requiring Defendant to undergo intermittent random drug and alcohol screenings and requiring a strenuous CRN evaluation. Imposing a bail modification of a CRN evaluation does not serve the objective of ensuring the defendant appears for future court hearings or other bail conditions. Therefore, while defendants that intend to be adjudicated as guilty before undergoing a CRN evaluation may opt to do so, trial judges are not permitted to force defendants to undergo CRN evaluations as a condition of bail.