Getting a DUI in Pennsylvania is bad at any time. When you are already on probation for a different criminal conviction, getting a DUI charge can be especially problematic. If you are convicted, your probation may be revoked. You may also have to serve time for both your underlying DUI offense as well as the new crime or conviction. At DiCindio Law, we represent people who are charged with all sorts of crimes, including DUI offenses when people are already serving probationary sentences.
If you have received a sentence of probation, you are expected to adhere to a number of conditions. You may have to complete community service, meet with your probation officer, and appear in court when you are scheduled to do so. Depending upon the offense or your conviction, you may also be required to stay away from specific places or people or to refrain from using alcohol or drugs. Nearly every probationary sentence also includes a prohibition against committing new criminal offenses. In nearly every case, a DUI conviction will be counted as a violation of probation.
Determination of a probation violation
If you are accused of committing a violation of your probation, you will be scheduled for a hearing before a judge. The judge will hear your case and decide whether you violated the conditions or terms of your probation. At this hearing, the prosecutor is required to prove that you violated your probation by a preponderance of the evidence. This simply means that it is more likely than not that you committed what you are accused of doing. This burden of proof only applies to your probation hearing and not to the DUI offense itself. The prosecutor in your DUI case will need to prove that you committed the offense beyond a reasonable doubt to secure a conviction.
If you are convicted of a DUI or plead guilty to the offense, the prosecutor will be able to meet his or her burden of proof in your probation violation hearing. If you have only been charged, the judge in your case may make a determination based on the evidence in your DUI case according to the strength of the case against you or may continue your probation violation hearing until the new case is resolved.
What happens if you are found to have violated your probation?
If you are found to have violated your probation, judges have a number of different options available to them at your sentencing. The judge may add more time to your probation, order you to complete inpatient treatment, impose additional fines, order you to attend counseling, or revoke your probation and send you to jail.
If you are convicted of a DUI when you are on probation, the judge may order you to serve either a brief time in jail or up to the maximum time allowed for your underlying probationary offense. If you are facing a DUI charge while you are on probation, it is crucial for you to contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer.
What are the steps in the probation violation process?
When you are arrested for driving under the influence while on probation, the probation violation process will begin. You will have to appear in court for the DUI. Your probation officer will learn about your charges and start the process to revoke your probation by filing a statement of your violations with the court.
If you are arrested for violating probation, you may be sent to jail and be denied bond. Your lawyer can negotiate with the prosecutor to secure a bond or to establish that a probation violation did not occur. You will have to appear before a judge for a hearing about your alleged probation violation. Your defense lawyer will attempt to lessen the penalties if you are found to have violated your probation.
How will your DUI case be handled?
Your DUI case will proceed separately from your probation revocation proceeding, and any sentence that you might receive for a DUI conviction will be in addition to any sentence that you receive for violating your probation. The court may order any jail time to be served either concurrently or consecutively.
Pennsylvania follows a three-level system that is based on your BAC to determine the penalties for a DUI. The first tier is for a BAC of 0.08% to 0.099%. For the first offense at this level, you may be sentenced for up to six months of probation, be ordered to pay a $300 fine, be ordered to complete an alcohol safety school, and be ordered to attend a treatment program.
If you are convicted of a second offense DUI as a first-tier level, you may face from five days up to six months in jail and be ordered to pay a fine ranging from $300 to $2,500. You may also have your license suspended for one year and be ordered to install an ignition interlock device in your car.
For a third offense at the first tier, you may face from 10 days to two years in prison and be ordered to pay fines from $500 to $5,000. Your license will be suspended for one year, and you will have to install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle for one year. You may be ordered to complete a treatment program.
A second-tier DUI offense is for BACs ranging from 0.10% to 0.159%. For the first offense at this level, you may face from two days to six months in jail, a fine of $500 to $5,000, one year of license suspension, and attendance at an alcohol safety school. You may also be ordered to complete a treatment program.
A second offense DUI at the second-tier level could result in 30 days to six months in jail, a fine of $750 to $5,000, a one-year suspension of your license, mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device, treatment, and attendance at an alcohol safety school.
A third offense at the second-tier level may result in 90 days to five years of imprisonment, fines ranging from $1,500 to $10,000, an 18-month suspension of your license, attendance at a treatment program, and mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device.
The third tier is for people who have a BAC of 0.16% or higher, and people who are charged at this level face the most severe punishments. If you are convicted with a first offense at this level, you may be ordered to spend from three days to six months in jail, pay a fine of $1,000 to $5,000, face a one-year license suspension, be ordered to attend alcohol safety school, and possibly be ordered to attend treatment.
A second offense at the third tier may result in 90 days to five years in jail, a fine of $1,500 to $10,000, an 18-month license suspension, alcohol safety school, completion of a treatment program, and installation of an ignition interlock device for one year.
For a third offense at the third tier DUI level, you may be ordered to serve from one to five years in prison, pay a fine from $2,500 to $10,000, have your license suspended for 18 months, attend treatment, and have an ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle.
Get help from an experienced criminal defense attorney
If you have been charged with a DUI while you are on probation, it is important for you to retain an experienced criminal defense lawyer who is able to handle both your probation violation case and your DUI offense. Contact DiCindio Law today to schedule a consultation.
The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. We invite you to contact us and welcome your calls, letters and electronic mail. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send any confidential information to us until such time as an attorney-client relationship has been established.
Michael D. DiCindio, Esq. is a West Chester criminal defense lawyer and personal injury attorney who represents individuals accused of crimes or injured by the negligence of others throughout all of Chester County, including West Chester, Phoenixville, Malvern, Coatesville, Paoli, Downingtown, Tredyffrin, West Goshen, Honey Brook, Oxford, Devon, Pottstown, Chesterbrook, Parkesburg, Kennett Square, and Avondale