If you have been convicted of DUI in the state of Pennsylvania, the judge can hand down a sentence that includes participating in mandatory DUI classes. Many drivers who are in court fighting their DUI case wonder what factors affect the length of the alcohol program as a result of the Philadelphia DUI case.
These are a few of the factors that could alter the amount of time, curriculum, and cost, of the alcohol program.
The Severity of the Driving Offense
The length of the alcohol program that was ordered by the judge presiding over your case could be impacted by the severity of the DUI arrest. The judge is going to look very carefully at all the evidence presented by the prosecution, looking to see how the driver responded to the directions of the officer, how erratic the driving, and if anyone was injured as a result of the intoxicated driver. The judge will not rule favorably if the driver was cooperative or combative with the arresting officer, looking closely to see if the driver was apologetic for what was happening or resistant to being arrested.
The judge has extensive experience with determining which cases deserve which penalties. Your DUI attorney may present evidence that shows that the judge might consider lessening the time of the alcohol program due to hardship or other determining factors.
Blood Alcohol Level Results
One of the determining factors when the judge has to determine how long to mandate an alcohol program to a DUI suspect is how high over the legal limit was the driver’s blood alcohol level. The legal limit in the state of Philadelphia is 0.08 blood alcohol level, so depending on how high above that number, the judge has the discretion to make the defendant appear at the alcohol program. When the number is slightly above the legal number, the judge might feel this was an isolated incident and reduce the time of the program, but by the same token, the judge might want to make an example of the driver and ensure they realizes the impact that driving drunk could have had on an innocent driver in the future and demand they go to a lengthy program.
Your DUI attorney will present evidence to show that you have remorse, you won’t let this happen again, and that family and friends will support you and help you to keep this from happening again.
Prior Record of Criminal Activity
Once the judge has all the evidence in their hands, they can look to see if this was a one-time incident or if the driver has a history and several other DUI arrests. The driver who has a clean driving record could receive be mandated to attend an alcohol program that is in line with the regulations of the state. There are other factors however that could determine if the length of the program will be extended. If the judge sees that the driver truly has remorse and wants to get better, then the minimum program length usually will suffice.
When the judge sees that the driver is combative, aggravated, and not willing to accept responsibility, they may be required a more lengthy program time to try and help them to see what the consequences of their actions could have on innocent drivers. Your DUI attorney is in the best position to get the alcohol program time shortened.
Consequences of Being a Repeat Offender
When the judge sees the defendant for a second, third, or fourth time, it is obvious that the alcohol program is not working. Perhaps the driver did not take the program serious, the length of the program was too short, or the driver didn’t make an effort to learn from the program. In this instance, the judge will not give up on the program because it does work, they will simply extend the length and require the driver be more accountable.
If the driver is given a length of time to complete the program, they may have community service added to the sentence to drive the point home. The judge might order the driver to complete the program in a satisfactory manner or take it again, serve jail time, or permanently take away the driver license in an effort to get the driver to understand the severity of the situation. The DUI lawyer can negotiate the terms with the court so all parties benefit.
These are only some of the factors that affect the length of the alcohol program as a result of a Philadelphia DUI case. The judge in each case is different, and they may put more weight on certain aspects of the offense than others. It is always good to have a skilled DUI attorney who might be able to negotiate a more favorable outcome in the court.