First-Time Offender in Bucks County

Driving under the influence (DUI) is one of the few crimes that you can commit by accident and without hurting anyone else in Pennsylvania. This is why so many people face first-time offender charges for drunk driving. If you get arrested and charged in Bucks County, there will be a few unique aspects to how your case proceeds, particularly when it comes to diversion.

Penalties for First-Time DUI Offenses

The repercussions of a conviction for a first offense of DUI in Pennsylvania depend on several factors. These include your blood alcohol content (BAC) at the time of the arrest and whether you were underage, though other factors can make a difference, as well:

  Sentence Fines License Suspension Other Treatment
BAC Under 0.10 6 months probation $300 None, if eligible for ARD Alcohol safety school
BAC Between 0.10 and 0.16 2 days to 6 months in jail $500 - $5,000 1 year Alcohol safety school
BAC Over 0.16 3 days to 6 months in jail $1,000 - $5,000 1 year Alcohol safety school
Underaged DUI 2 days to 6 months in jail $500 - $5,000 1 year Alcohol safety school

Importantly, Pennsylvania has a zero tolerance policy for minors under the age of 20, meaning they can be convicted for DUI if they have a BAC of 0.02% or above.

Diversion Program in Bucks County

Bucks County, however, has a diversion program for first-time DUI offenders.

This diversion program, called Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD), is a pretrial intervention program that allows people who do not have a criminal background and who have been arrested for non-violent offenses – like DUI – to avoid the rigors of the criminal justice system.

Eligibility for ARD is fairly strict: You cannot have any convictions in your past and cannot have participated in any diversion programs beforehand. When it comes to ARD for a charge of DUI, you will be ineligible if:

  • You had caused an accident in which someone else got hurt, there was serious property damage, or you left the scene
  • There was someone under the age of 14 in your car at the time of your arrest
  • You did not have a valid driver's license or car insurance when you were arrested
  • You took a specific action in your car that endangered other people when you were arrested
  • You did not complete a CRN (Court Reporting Network) evaluation, or your CRN indicates that you have an addiction and you have not taken substantial steps to address it

If you are eligible to participate in Bucks County's ARD program, you will have to waive your right to a preliminary hearing and submit the application paperwork to be considered for admission into the program.

Once enrolled, you will have to complete the requirements of the program. These depend on the charge you are facing, but usually include:

  • Community service that is verified by the Bucks County Adult Probation and Parole Department
  • Pay the necessary court and program fees
  • Complete an alcohol class
  • Pay restitution to anyone who was hurt

If you complete these requirements, your charges will be dismissed and your criminal record will be expunged. If you fail to complete these requirements – even in a minor or trivial way – or get arrested, again, the original DUI charges will resume.

Bucks County DUI Attorney Joseph D. Lento

DUI-defense Joseph D. Lento helps people who have been arrested and accused of DUI in Bucks County. Contact him online or by phone at 215-535-5353 for help.

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Attorney Joseph D. Lento has nearly a decade of experience successfully resolving clients' criminal charges in Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania counties. If you are having any uncertainties about what the future may hold for you or a loved one, contact the Lento Law Firm today! Criminal defense attorney Joseph D. Lento will go above and beyond the needs of any client, and will fight until the final bell rings.

This website was created only for general information purposes. It is not intended to be construed as legal advice for any situation. Only a direct consultation with a licensed Pennsylvania and New Jersey attorney can provide you with formal legal counsel based on the unique details surrounding your situation. The pages on this website may contain links and contact information for third party organizations – the Lento Law Firm does not necessarily endorse these organizations nor the materials contained on their website. In Pennsylvania, Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout Pennsylvania's 67 counties, including, but not limited to Philadelphia, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, Berks, Lancaster, Lehigh, and Northampton County. In New Jersey, attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout New Jersey's 21 counties: Atlantic, Bergen, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Essex, Gloucester, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Salem, Somerset, Sussex, Union, and Warren County, Outside of Pennsylvania and New Jersey, unless attorney Joseph D. Lento is admitted pro hac vice if needed, his assistance is educational advice, and does not constitute legal advice or the practice of law. The decision to hire an attorney in Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania counties, New Jersey, or nationwide should not be made solely on the strength of an advertisement. We invite you to contact the Lento Law Firm directly to inquire about our specific qualifications and experience. Communicating with the Lento Law Firm by email, phone, or fax does not create an attorney-client relationship. The Lento Law Firm will serve as your official legal counsel upon a formal agreement from both parties. Any information sent to the Lento Law Firm before an attorney-client relationship is made is done on a non-confidential basis.

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