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  • By: Kevin Leckerman, Esq.
  • Published: December 19, 2011
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If you are convicted of a DUI charge in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, then you may have the opportunity to choose house arrest in place of spending time in jail. Your DUI attorney will guide you through the process of asking for house arrest, but there are few facts you need to know first.

In most cases for first time offenders who have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) under .10%, jail-time is not required. You will be fined $300 and be placed on probation for up to 6 months. The exception is when you were involved in an accident involving injury or death.

First time offenders with a BAC level of .10% or greater have minimum jail time of 48 to 72 hours , with a maximum sentence of 6 months in jail. These first time offenders may have the opportunity to qualify for Intermediate Punishment; however, house arrest is not typically offered to first time offenders, because the time in jail is minimal.

Pennsylvania DUI law requires that you face the maximum penalties for a refusal to provide samples for chemical testing.

House Arrest in Pennsylvania is Not an Entitlement

You can only qualify for the option of house arrest if the Prosecutor and Judge agree to mark your case for Intermediate Punishment. Part of the qualifications to be eligible for intermediate punishment and house arrest include one of the following:

  • Gainfully employed.
  • Actively seeking work.
  • Enrolled in an education or vocational program.
  • Participating in a community service program.

Commonly, intermediate punishment programs are not offered to individuals involved in a serious accident resulting injuries or death while intoxicated. Repeat offenders are rarely offered the opportunity.

The intermediate punishment program does not guarantee house arrest. The two options possible are:

  • House arrest with electronic monitoring
  • Alternative Housing – Halfway House

In both of these situations, you are usually allowed to attend school or work. You must return home or halfway house immediately following work or school. You will be expected to follow certain guidelines during the length of your alternative sentencing. This includes:

  • Wearing an Electronic Monitoring Device
  • Meeting in person with your supervisor face to face monthly.
  • Three additional contacts with the supervisor throughout the month.
  • Submit to drug and alcohol testing on demand.
  • Attend drug and alcohol treatment sessions.

Violating any rule while you are under house arrest or in alternative housing is grounds for immediate incarceration in jail.

House arrest or alternative housing is an opportunity to serve your sentence while continuing to work or attend school. Do not believe this will be life as normal. You will be severely restricted in movement. You will be closely monitored. If you believe house arrest is the best option, then ask your Pennsylvania DUI attorney to present your request to the court.

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