Posts Tagged ‘DUI suspended license attorney Reading PA’

Spotlight Issue: DUS Intermediate Punishment (DUS/IPP)

Friday, April 27th, 2018

Getting caught driving with a suspended license in Berks County usually results in a fine and additional license suspension (read more about 1543(a) violations here), but make the same mistake with a DUI suspended license and you’re looking at a mandatory jail sentence. If you’re facing the possibility of jail time for a 1543(b) charge (driving with a DUI suspended license), you need to consider the option of DUS/IPP (driving under suspension/intermediate punishment program). Here’s what you need to know.

First, when is a Pennsylvania driver’s license considered DUI suspended? Your license will of course fall into this category during the period of time it is suspended according to your criminal sentence or PennDot. BUT, even if your original period of suspension has passed, if you have not paid the $25 restoration fee and had your physical license returned to you, it is still considered suspended as the result of a DUI even after that initial court-ordered period has passed.

So, what’s the difference in penalties between driving with a regular suspended license (1543(a)) and a DUI suspended license (1543(b))? A 1543(a) violation generally carries a penalty of a $200 fine and an additional license suspension. A 1543(b) violation, on the other hand, carries a mandatory minimum jail sentence of 60-90 days and a $500 fine.

A jail sentence of even 60 days can be disastrous for many clients. Luckily, there is another option: DUS/IPP. Because a 1543(b) charge is a summary offense, the case will initially be handled by a magisterial district judge. In order to apply for the DUS/IPP program, a defendant is required to plead guilty in front of the MDJ and contact Berks County Adult Probation within 3 days of that plea to schedule an evaluation.

One of the first steps of Berks County DUS/IPP is the drug and alcohol evaluation. That will determine what type of treatment will be required for each individual participant. All participants are also required to complete community service and pay the $500 fine. Once a DUS/IPP sentence has been approved by the probation officer and the district attorney’s office, a defendant will be sentenced to 5 days of incarceration and 85 days of house arrest. House arrest requires electronic monitoring which must be paid for by the defendant at a cost of approximately $8/day. The money must be paid upfront. Credit towards the 85 days of house arrest can be given for inpatient drug and alcohol treatment or participation in a halfway house program.

While it may seem daunting to contemplate completing all of these steps, the significant reduction in a jail sentence as a result of completing DUS/IPP is worth it to many defendants. Not all DUS defendants are eligible for this program,so your attorney can review your criminal history with you to see whether you are able to apply. Because of the deadlines for applying for DUS/IPP, it is very important that you have a knowledgeable Reading, PA criminal defense attorney with you at your first appearance in front of the magisterial district judge to help you follow the applications steps correctly.

If you’ve been charged with driving with a DUI suspended license, call our Berks County DUI attorneys to see whether you may be eligible for a reduction in jail time. Call us at 610-372-5128 or email us at info@enmlaw.com.

Spotlight Issue: What is the difference between a 1543(a) and a 1543(b) violation?

Friday, June 30th, 2017

What is the difference between a 1543(a) and a 1543(b) violation? Both violations are traffic offenses, but the consequences for each are vastly different. We’ll point out some of the most important differences here.

1) Both 1543(a) and 1543(b) violations relate to driving with a suspended license, BUT the reason for the original license suspension determines which section applies.

- 1543(a): any type of license suspension not related to a DUI

- 1543(b): license suspension related to a DUI – ex. DUI conviction or ARD disposition or refusal to submit to chemical testing

2) Both 1543(a) and 1543(b) convictions result in fines and additional license suspensions, BUT there are drastic differences in the amount of jail time involved (if any)

- 1543(a): the beginning penalty is a $200 fine and an additional license suspension – repeat violations result in an increased penalty of up to $1,000 fine and a jail sentence of up to 6 months – a 6th or subsequent conviction results in a mandatory $1,000 fine and a mandatory jail sentence of 30 days – 6 months

- 1543(b): penalty of $500 fine and immediately includes a mandatory jail sentence of 60 to 90 days

3) 1543(b) has increased penalties if the driver has drugs or alcohol above .02% in his blood OR refuses to submit to chemical testing, 1543(a) does not
– 1st conviction with enhanced penalty – mandatory $1,000 fine and 90 day jail sentence
– 2nd conviction with enhanced penalty – mandatory $2,500 fine and a jail sentence not to exceed 6 months
– 3rd conviction with enhanced penalty – mandatory $5,000 fine and a jail sentence not to exceed 2 years

As you can tell from this summary, there are much stricter penalties for driving with a DUI-suspended license under 1543(b); however, a 1543(a) violation should not be taken lightly, either. If you’ve been charged with either of these traffic offenses in Berks County, the stakes are too high for you to try to handle your case on your own. Our attorneys will investigate your case to see whether you have been properly charged and discuss your options with you, including the possibility of negotiating a reduced sentence. Contact our knowledgeable criminal law attorneys today at 610-372-5128 or email us at info@ennlaw.com.