First-Time Offender in Delaware County

Because driving under the influence (DUI) in Pennsylvania is one of the few crimes that can be committed by accident and without creating a victim, many upstanding people in the state and in Delaware County face criminal accusations for it at some point in their lives. First-time DUI offenders often have a clean background, and merely made a mistake or poor choice. Prosecutors in Delaware County recognize this and have some discretion to change how first time offenses are handled in the county.

Typical Penalties for First-Time DUI Offenses in Pennsylvania

The precise penalties that you can face for a first conviction of DUI in the state of Pennsylvania depend on a handful of factors. For example, the blood alcohol content (BAC) at the time of the arrest can alter the penalties you face, as can the fact that you were underage:




License Suspension

Other Repercussions

BAC under 0.10

6 months of probation


None, if you are eligible for ARD

Alcohol safety school

BAC from 0.10 to 0.16

Between 2 days and 6 months in jail

$500 - $5,000

1 year

Alcohol safety school

BAC over 0.16

Between 3 days and 6 months in jail

$1,000 - $5,000

1 year

Alcohol safety school

DUI charges for underage drinkers

Between 2 days and 6 months in jail

$500 - $5,000

1 year

Alcohol safety school

It is also important to note that Pennsylvania's zero tolerance policy for underage drinking means that drivers aged 20 or under can be convicted for DUI if they have a BAC at or above 0.02%, rather than the normal legal limit of 0.08%.

Diversion Program in Delaware County

First-time DUI offenders in Delaware County can use the county's diversion program, also called Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD).

ARD is open to individuals who do not have a criminal background and have been arrested for non-violent offenses like DUI.

If you are eligible to participate in ARD, you have to file the necessary paperwork at least fourteen days before your scheduled DUI arraignment. Acceptance to the program is made on a case-by-case basis. If accepted, you would have to complete the requirements of your particular program. For DUI cases, this typically involves:

  • Paying the ARD program fee, which is usually around $1,250, on the day of your hearing
  • Paying the supervisory fee for your probation, which is usually around $35 per month
  • Perform the allotted community service
  • Complete the terms of your probation

If you succeed, the DUI charge against you will be dismissed and expunged from your criminal record. If you fail to complete any of these requirements – even if the failure is a trivial one – your case will proceed to trial.

Delaware County DUI-Defense Attorney Joseph D. Lento

Joseph D. Lento is a DUI-defense attorney for people who have been accused of drunk driving in Delaware County. Contact him online or by phone at 215-535-5353 if you have been arrested and charged with DUI. Having his legal representation can help you make the best decision for your future.

Contact Us Today!

Attorney Joseph D. Lento has more than 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.

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