The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation indicates there were more than 12,000 crashes in 2017 resulting from impaired driving. Although the volume of alcohol-related crashes has slightly decreased, the number of crashes involving drivers operating under the influence of drugs (DUI) is increasing. Across the state, law enforcement is using saturation patrols and DUI checkpoints to enforce safety laws. In 2018, Northampton County made approximately 123 arrests for DUI among adults and juveniles
Criminal Court System in Northampton County
The Office of the District Attorney for Northampton County prosecutes all criminal cases in the Court of Common Pleas. The Northampton County Adult Probation Department generally is involved in DUI-related criminal proceedings. Some of the conditions that offenders placed on probation must adhere to include:
- Maintaining a stable residence
- Remaining within the state unless permitted to leave
- Paying any fines, court costs, and restitution per court orders
- Completion of an assessment and potentially a treatment program for drugs and alcohol
- Submitting to drug screening (testing)
- Compliance with terms of community supervision such as electronically monitored house arrest
Accelerated Rehabilitated Disposition (ARD) Program for DUI Offenders
First-time offenders may be eligible for the ARD probationary program that may allow the charges to be dismissed if completed. The total estimated cost for the program is $1,750. The offender must satisfactorily complete six months of probation, attend the Alcohol Highway Safety Program classes, and submit to counseling for drug and/or alcohol abuse. A driver's license suspension may be imposed as follows:
Blood Alcohol Concentration
BAC: .099% or less
BAC: .10 to .159%
BAC: .16 or higher
Those who refused to submit to testing or who was operating their vehicle under the influence of a controlled substance will have a 60-day suspension imposed. Minors are all subject to a suspension period of 90 days. Those accepted in the ARD program are not required to serve jail time.
Alternative Sentencing Program (ASP) Programs for Repeat DUI Offenders
Those who have a second DUI offense are appropriate for the ASP program. Depending on the BAC level at the time of the arrest, the offender may be required to serve a sentence of between seven and ninety days in jail. Instead of jail time, offenders may be eligible for house arrest that is electronically monitored. Some of the applicable costs required include:
- Electronic Monitoring: $230.00
- Drug/Alcohol Assessment: $50.00
- Probation Fees: $225.00
- Counseling: $400.00
Modification or Revocation of Orders of Probation (§9771)
Courts may modify or terminate an offender's probation order as needed. If an offender does not comply with the conditions that they acknowledged when beginning the probationary period, the court may require the defendant to answer to the original charge. This is most often the result of significant violations such as committing another criminal offense, using drugs or alcohol, or otherwise not complying with the requirements.
The court will generally summon the defendant to court for a violation hearing to review the evidence of noncompliance. In addition to the continuation of the original criminal proceedings, the court may impose sanctions including a period of incarceration. Based on the number of probation violations, the court may order a jail sentence of between three and twenty-one days.
Lawyer Defends Those Accused of Probation Violations
When someone on probation or parole fails to comply with the conditions or is arrested for another criminal offense, they may face difficult consequences. Joseph D. Lento is a defense attorney that has many years of experience finding solutions to these situations in the Pennsylvania courts. Contact him today for aggressive legal defense by calling (888) 535-3686.