People have become accustomed to using cars for transportation so much in their daily lives, that most of us perceive driving as a necessity. But the law states otherwise. Driving is a privilege, one of which that can be deprived of you if you commit certain crimes. There are a number of violations that may lead to a license suspension. One of the most common is the conviction of a DUI.
A DUI-related license suspension can be a huge inconvenience for people who depend on their own respective vehicles to go to work, attend school, run errands, and partake in other activities. Consequently, some people may feel compelled to risk driving anyway to make things easier for themselves or there may have been an emergency. For some drivers, it's common for a suspension to be over, but the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) fails to send the said driver a physical copy of their license in time. So, they're under the impression that even though they don't have the license, they're still allowed to drive.
Regardless of the case, driving while your license is suspended due to a DUI has harsh consequences in Philadelphia. If you are a Philadelphian who is facing a DUI-related license suspension, you have options to make this experience tolerable. However, you won't have access to these options without the help of a skilled criminal defense attorney.
DUI-Related License Suspensions in Philadelphia
Immediately following a DUI conviction in Philadelphia, the majority of drivers are subjected to the temporary loss of their driving privileges. The length of this suspension depends on several factors, including a person's blood alcohol content level, and whether they've been approved for an “Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition” program.
Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) Program
The ARD program is a pre-trial intervention program that is intended to divert non-violent, first-time offenders from the criminal justice system. In order for a person to successfully complete this program, he or she must adhere to certain terms. For example, a person may be ordered to attend Alcohol Highway Safety School, and undergo periodic drug and alcohol evaluations. Said driver's completion of the program depends on them staying sober and finishing highway safety school.
The most important benefit of the program is that once it is successfully completed, the mandatory license suspension penalty will be significantly reduced (to a 30- or 60-day suspension). Underlying criminal charges will also be dismissed.
Drivers who face a mandatory license suspension have the option of applying for a restricted license by application of the court. This request essentially asks the courts for permission to drive solely for work during a license suspension. If granted, occupational limited licenses may only be granted 60 days after the original suspension. Acceptance into the ARD voids a person's eligibility for an occupational license.
Philadelphia Criminal Defense Attorney
If you have been arrested for a DUI in Philadelphia, and are facing a mandatory license suspension, you should immediately consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney. Attorney Joseph D. Lento has extensive experience helping people in this situation gain acceptance into the ARD program or receive an occupational license.
If you've been caught driving with a DUI suspended license, Attorney Lento can also help you fight to reduce these charges to forgo the mandatory jail requirement, less the costly fines associated with this crime, and shorten the additional license suspension. Contact him today for help.