Posts Tagged ‘Berks County 1543(b)’

Spotlight Issue: Mandatory DUI Sentences

Thursday, October 16th, 2014

DUI
So you’ve been charged with a DUI in Berks County and you aren’t eligible for the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) program (see our prior posting about the DUI ARD program in Berks County). Now what? Our attorneys will meet with you to evaluate the best course of action for your case. Our attorneys will also be able to advise you on the length of sentence that you may be facing. DUI’s carry mandatory minimum sentences. These mandatory minimum sentences are usually based on how many prior DUI’s you have been convicted of in the past ten years and what your blood alcohol content (BAC) was at the time that you were driving. However, this isn’t always the case. Other factors affecting your sentence include, but are not limited to, whether you had drugs in your system when your blood was drawn, whether there were children in the car at the time you were stopped by the police and whether you were involved in a motor vehicle accident. Below are the mandatory minimum sentences for each DUI tier.

(Tier 1) .08 – .10 BAC OR any amount of alcohol which renders a person incapable of safely driving
1st Offense:                                                          6 months probation
2nd Offense:                                                         5 days incarceration
3rd or Subsequent Offense:                              10 days incarceration

(Tier 2) .10 – .16 BAC OR involved in an accident OR driving a commercial vehicle with a BAC .04 or above OR driving a school vehicle with BAC .02 or above OR driver is a minor with BAC .02 or above
1st Offense:                                                         48 hours incarceration
2nd Offense:                                                       30 days incarceration
3rd Offense:                                                        90 days incarceration
4th of Subsequent Offense:                             1 year incarceration

(Tier 3) .16 BAC and above OR any type of drug in blood OR refusal to submit to blood draw
1st Offense:                                                         72 hours incarceration
2nd Offense:                                                       90 days incarceration
3rd or Subsequent Offense:                            1 year incarceration

Are there ways to avoid mandatory minimum DUI jail sentences? Yes. A judge can give you credit towards your mandatory minimum sentence for any time that you’ve spent in an inpatient drug and alcohol treatment program. If you’re facing a second offense DUI, you may be eligible for the Berks County Second Time Offender’s Program (STOP). If you’re facing a third offense DUI, you may be eligible for the Berks County DUI Treatment Court program. Both STOP and DUI Treatment Court allow defendants to replace some of their jail sentence with house arrest or time spent in a halfway house. Our DUI defense attorneys can advise you on whether you are eligible for these programs. The application process for both STOP and DUI Treatment Court is very important and a mistake during the process can bar you from participating in the program. Regardless of whether you’re facing your first DUI or your third, it’s important that you are represented by a knowledgeable DUI attorney to help you get the best sentence possible. Contact us today at (610) 372-5128.

DUI SUSPENDED LICENSE – 1543(b)
There are also mandatory minimum sentences if you’re caught driving with a DUI suspended license. In Pennsylvania this is commonly called a 1543(b) charge. Your license is considered DUI suspended if the suspension was the result of DUI ARD or a DUI conviction. This is not to be confused with a 1543(a) charge which involves driving with a non-DUI suspended license and usually involves just paying a fine. You can be charged with a 1543(b) violation even if you don’t have a valid license. You will have a DUI suspended license until you have completed your sentence requirements, paid all restoration fees to Penn Dot and Penn Dot has issued you a valid license or has physically returned your license to you. 1543(b) mandatory sentences are based on whether you are driving with a BAC above .02%, have any controlled substance in your blood or refuse to submit to a blood draw and whether you have previously been convicted of 1543(b) violations. Below are the the mandatory minimum sentences for 1543(b) convictions.

BAC below .02% and no controlled substance in blood
1st Offense:                                                  60-90 days incarceration
2nd Offense:                                                60-90 days incarceration
3rd or Subsequent Offense:                     60-90 days incarceration
*You can expect the sentence to increase for each subsequent conviction

BAC above .02% OR controlled substance OR refuse to submit to blood draw
1st Offense:                                                  90 days incarceration
2nd Offense:                                                Not less than 6 months incarceration
3rd or Subsequent Offense:                     Not less than 2 years incarceration

Are there ways to avoid mandatory minimum sentences for 1543(b) violations? Yes. You may be eligible to participate in the Berks County Driving under Suspension Intermediate Punishment Program (DUS IPP). DUS IPP allows a defendant to serve a house arrest sentence in place of a portion of his or her jail sentence. Our DUI attorneys can advise you as to whether or not you are eligible for the DUS IP program and help you through the application process. Contact our office today at (610) 372-5128.

Client Avoids Jail Time in Driving Under Suspension Case

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

Attorney Ryan W. McAllister recently represented a client who was charged with driving on a suspended license, DUI-related, under 75 Pa.C.S.A. 1543(b) of the Pennsylvania Vehicle Code. Our client was facing a mandatory sentence of 60-90 days in Berks County Prison. Our client could simply not afford to spend that much time in jail. He would lose his job, and he would not be able to support his family.

Attorney McAllister was able to guide our client through a special program offered by the Berks County Adult Probation Department. This program allowed our client to complete a sentence of 5 days in Berks County Prison and 85 days on house arrest (with allocations for work release). Our client was extremely happy with the outcome of his case. He was able to keep his job and serve the vast majority of his sentence at home with his family.

If you or someone you know is facing a driving under suspension charge, 75 Pa.C.S.A. 1543, in Berks County or Reading, PA, please contact us right away at 610-372-5128. One of our experienced attorneys will be happy to meet with you to discuss the case in more detail.

Client Avoids Jail Time in Driving Case

Wednesday, October 16th, 2013

Attorney Ryan W. McAllister recently represented a client in Berks County District Court who was facing jail time for driving on a suspended license under 75 Pa.C.S.A. 1543(a). Our client was facing a maximum of six (6) months in jail on this offense. He was a working full-time to help support his wife and kids. Any type of jail sentence would have resulted in a loss of his job; needless to say, this would have had severe negative consequences for his family.

Attorney McAllister discussed defense strategies with our client, and he was prepared to present a strong defense to the Judge on the day of the trial. Attorney McAllister met with the officer prior the hearing, and, based on negotiations, was able to work out an agreement with the officer to avoid any type of jail sentence.

Our client was very happy with the outcome of the case since he ended up not having to do any jail time. As a result, our client was able to keep his job and continue to support his family. If you or someone you know is facing a serious traffic offense or even jail time in Reading, PA, or Berks County, Pennsylvania, please contact us right away at 610-372-5128. One of our dedicated and experienced attorneys will be happy to meet with you to discuss your case in more detail.

Client Saved From 60-90 Day Jail Sentence

Thursday, June 27th, 2013

Attorney Ryan W. McAllister recently represented a Berks County resident who was issued a traffic citation for Driving on a Suspended License-DUI Related, which is codified at 75 Pa.C.S.A. 1543(b). Even though this is technically a traffic offense, there is a mandatory 60-90 day jail sentence that applies if convicted. Our client was employed full-time and was the sole source of support for her young daughter. A 60-90 day jail sentence would have had devastating consequences both financially and emotionally.

Attorney McAllister was able to successfully enter into negotiations with the police officer at the District Court hearing. In exchange for pleading guilty to some other citations that our client was facing, the police officer was willing to modify the 1543(b) charge so that our client could avoid having to do any jail time. Our client was very respectful and appreciate for being given the opportunity to stay out of jail, keep her job, and continue caring for her daughter.

If you or someone you know is charged with driving on a suspended license, 75 Pa.C.S.A. 1543(b), in Reading, Pennsylvania, or Berks County, PA, please call us right away at 610-372-5128. One of our experienced traffic attorneys will be more than happy to meet with you in person to discuss your case in greater detail.

Client Avoids Jail Time on 1543(b) Traffic Offense

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012

Our client was charged Driving on a DUI Suspended License under the Pennsylvania Vehicle Code, 75 Pa.C.S.A. 1543(b).  Although this is technically a traffic offense, a conviction actually carries a mandatory 60-90 day jail sentence.  Our client was a married father of two (2) children, and, clearly, he could not afford to spend 60-90 days in jail without a significant impact on both the emotional and financial well-being of his family.  Additionally, a conviction under this section of the vehicle code would carry an additional one (1) year suspension of our client’s driver’s license by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT).

On the day of the hearing, Attorney McAllister attempted to negotiate with the prosecution.  After discussing the matter, Attorney McAllister was able to convince both the prosecution and the Judge to amend the citation issued to our client to another traffic offense.

In the end, our client received no jail time and no additional license suspension.  Our client only had to pay a relatively small fine and court costs.  He was very happy to have retained the services of Ebner, Nevins & McAllister, LLC.

If you or someone you know is facing a traffic citation for driving on a suspended license in Berks County or Reading, Pennsylvania, please contact us at 610-372-5128 to speak with one of our experienced attorneys.  We’ll be happy to discuss your case in more detail and answer any questions that you might have.