When a person is charged or convicted with a DUI in Philadelphia, there is a chance that he or she will need to serve time in jail. Whether jail time is necessary depends on the facts of the case and the previous record of the person who was taken into custody. It also depends on whether the judge or prosecutor is willing to be lenient on an individual.
Are You A First Offender?
If this is your first offense for driving under the influence, it is more likely than not that you will receive a sentence that doesn’t include jail time. In fact, it may be possible to keep your drivers license to help you get to work and other select destinations. Typically, those who have no prior record of driving drunk will receive a suspended sentence or put on probation. However, there is no guarantee that this will be the case, so it may be worthwhile to talk with an attorney prior to admitting guilt.
Are There Aggravating Circumstances?
Aggravating circumstances could increase the odds that you are sent to jail or prison after being convicted of DUI. For instance, if you hurt or killed someone, it may be tough to argue that you won’t be a threat to public safety. Another aggravating factor may be your blood alcohol content level at the time that you were taken into custody. In Illinois, those with a BAC of .16 percent or higher may be eligible for increased penalties regardless of their previous record.
Have You Shown Remorse for Your Actions?
Whether or not a person receives leniency from a judge or not depends on how remorseful that person may be. It may be a good idea to apologize to the judge or to anybody who you may have hurt because of your actions. It may also be a good idea to show that you have taken steps to make sure that it won’t happen again. Examples of such steps include entering rehab or speaking to kids about the dangers of drinking and driving.
What Do the Victims Have to Say?
If the person who you hurt thinks that you should not face the maximum sentence, a judge will likely take that into consideration. The same is true if the family of the victim who you killed while driving drunk suggests that you get off easy. However, this does not mean that you won’t be subject to jail time, and other facts in the case may prove as or more compelling when deciding your fate.
Do Prosecutors Think You Should Remain Free?
The prosecution is generally the party that drafts a plea agreement. In some cases, the judge may also be a party to such negotiations. If the prosecutor or the judge doesn’t believe that you should avoid a jail sentence, it is likely that you will spend at least 30-60 days behind bars. In some cases, you may be required to spend the full year in jail but with a portion of the sentence suspended.
Is House Arrest an Option?
While no one enjoys the thought of being cooped up at home for months at a time, it may be preferable to spending time in jail. House arrest may be ideal for those who have medical or other issues that may not be adequately addressed while in jail. It may also be helpful for parents or for those who need to take care of an ailing loved one. A judge will have to make the determination as to whether such an arrangement is in the best interest of the people of Philadelphia.
Can a Sentence Be Suspended?
Yes, a jail sentence may be suspended if there is reason to believe that doing so is appropriate. This may occur in cases where parents need to get to work to support their children or if a person’s BAC was at or just over the legal limit. In general, the judge must believe that you are not a threat to be a repeat offender when making such a decision.
If you are convicted of a DUI, there is a chance that you will spend time in jail. However, there are also numerous other ways that a case may be resolved. Therefore, make sure to talk with an attorney who may be able to help resolve the matter in a favorable manner.