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  • By: Kevin Leckerman, Esq.
  • Published: April 16, 2012
A glass of whiskey and a car key on a table - Leckerman Law, LLC

If you have been charged with a DUI, the first thoughts going through your mind probably concern the potential penalties you face. For drivers charged with a second or third DUI offense, the stakes are high. Jail-time is a certainty if convicted.

A person charged with a second offense DUI, who is alleged to have a blood alcohol level (BAC) of .16% or higher, faces a minimum of 90 days in jail and a maximum of five years. Someone charged with a third offense DUI, who is alleged to have a blood alcohol level (BAC) of .16% or higher, faces a minimum of one year in jail and a maximum of five years. Such long periods of time in jail can cost people their jobs, homes, and families.

For those people who do not want to take the risk of fighting a DUI and facing the time in jail of 90 days or 1 year, the Philadelphia Municipal Court system offers an alternative. Philadelphia is one of the few counties in Pennsylvania that has established a DUI treatment court. The treatment court provides an alternative to spending the entire minimum amount of time in jail.

For drivers facing the 90 days of jail, the DUI treatment court requires that only 10 days of jail-time be served, while the remaining 80 days can be completed on house arrest. Drivers facing a 1 year minimum, must be serve six months in jail, while the remaining six months can be completed on house arrest.

While this alternative sounds great, there are catches. First, the driver must plead guilty to the DUI. Second, the driver has to get a drug and alcohol evaluation completed in order to determine the level of treatment required. A program participant will have to complete drug and alcohol treatment at an inpatient facility, through intensive outpatient treatment or with non-intensive outpatient treatment.

Third, the participant must live in Philadelphia for house arrest and during the entire probationary period following it. Additionally, the cost for house arrest is approximately $250-$300 a month. This person must have a landline installed without call-waiting or internet access.

Finally, the time in jail cannot be served on the weekends. The ten and 180-days of jail must be served straight through. The jail term will start on the day when the participant pleads guilty.

The Philadelphia DUI Treatment Court (DUITC) does offer an attractive alternative to a long period of incarceration. However, it is more rigorous than regular probation or parole. For those people who want to get into the program, you should be aware that you are going to have to jump through hoops in order to show your willingness to rehabilitate yourself. Before going into the program, a driver should consult with a DUI lawyer who knows the program and can discuss potential defenses to the DUI charge.

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