First DUI

Facing your first DUI charge in Philadelphia can be an intimidating experience, especially if it is your first-ever serious run-in with the law. However, the good news is that in Pennsylvania, the attitude towards nonviolent offenses like first DUI is one of rehabilitation, not punishment. Pennsylvania is home to the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition program, created to help first-time offenders stay out of the criminal justice system.

If your case qualifies for the DUI ARD program, the district attorney will dismiss the charges and you will be eligible to have your Pennsylvania criminal record expunged. If your case doesn't qualify, there are many defense strategies available that may reduce or dismiss your charges. In both instances, a qualified Philadelphia DUI defense attorney will be able to fight to achieve the most favorable outcome for your case and your future.

Drunk Driving / DUI Information Center

Back to top

First DUI Offenses and Penalties in Philadelphia

Typically, most first driving under the influence offenses in Philadelphia qualify for the accelerated rehabilitative disposition, or ARD, program, defined in 75 Pa. Cons. Stat. §3807. However, not all Pennsylvania DUI cases are eligible for a DUI ARD. It is important then to understand the rules and penalties involved in a first-time DUI case (defined in in 75 Pa. Cons. Stat. §3801-3817) on the chance that your case may not qualify. In these cases, sometimes going through the trial process is the only way to exploit the weaknesses in the prosecution's evidence against you in order to achieve a charge reduction or DUI case dismissal. The following are the charges and penalties for first DUI based on alcohol level:

First DUI – BAC .08% - .099%

  • Ungraded misdemeanor
  • 6 months of probation
  • $300 fine
  • Completion of alcohol safety school
  • Completion of alcohol or drug treatment

First DUI – BAC .10% - .159%

  • Ungraded misdemeanor
  • 12 month driver's license suspension
  • 48 hours – 6 months in jail
  • $500-$5,000 fine
  • Completion of alcohol safety school
  • Completion of alcohol or drug treatment

First DUI – BAC .16% or higher

  • First-degree misdemeanor
  • 1 year of ignition interlock device requirement
  • 12 month driver's license suspension
  • 72 hours – 6 months in jail
  • $1,000-$5,000 fine
  • Completion of alcohol safety school
  • Completion of alcohol or drug treatment

Back to top

Pennsylvania Driver's License Suspensions for First DUI

If your case doesn't qualify for the Pennsylvania DUI ARD program, you may be facing a driver's license suspension based on various factors in your case, including how high you tested for BAC. In certain cases, you may be eligible for an Occupational Limited License for specific purposes like work or school, but only after completing 60 days of hard suspension where you are not allowed to drive at all. The suspensions you may be facing after a first DUI conviction include:

  • No suspension if BAC is below .10%, but individual is still incapable of safe driving
  • 12 months of license suspension for first DUI in Philadelphia with BAC of .10% - %.16
  • 12 months of license suspension for a BAC of .16% or higher

Back to top

Philadelphia Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition DUI Suspension Periods

The legislature has enacted laws requiring the suspension of driver's licenses in certain DUI Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition cases. These suspensions requirements include the following:

  • No driver's license suspension is required for a BAC under %.10
  • 30-day driver's license suspension for a BAC of .10% - .159%
  • 60-day driver's license suspension for a BAC of .16% or higher

Back to top

DUI ARD Record Expungement in Philadelphia

As long as you are not a commercial driver or your operating privileges were not revoked as a habitual offender at the time of your DUI violation, your DUI record will be automatically expunged 10 years after you successfully complete your DUI ARD program. However, your DUI defense attorney may be able to negotiate with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation to facilitate an expunction closer to the time your case is dismissed. Your attorney will be able to determine both whether your DUI ARD completion qualifies you for record expunction and if you have a case worthy of presenting for a shorter wait period for expunction.

Back to top

Finding the Best Philadelphia Attorney for DUI First Offender

If you have been charged with DUI and are a first offender seeking the most favorable outcome for your case, whether that be the DUI ARD or navigating the court system, contact the LLF Law Firm. They will fight for your rights and your future to the end and beyond, if necessary. Call 888-535-3686 today to schedule your free consultation with the LLF Law Firm and explore the options for your first Philadelphia DUI case.

Contact Us Today!

The LLF Law Firm Team has decades of experience successfully resolving clients' criminal charges in Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania counties. If you are having any uncertainties about what the future may hold for you or a loved one, contact the LLF Law Firm today! Our Criminal Defense Team will go above and beyond the needs of any client, and will fight until the final bell rings.

This website was created only for general information purposes. It is not intended to be construed as legal advice for any situation. Only a direct consultation with a licensed Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York attorney can provide you with formal legal counsel based on the unique details surrounding your situation. The pages on this website may contain links and contact information for third party organizations - the Lento Law Firm does not necessarily endorse these organizations nor the materials contained on their website. In Pennsylvania, Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout Pennsylvania's 67 counties, including, but not limited to Philadelphia, Allegheny, Berks, Bucks, Carbon, Chester, Dauphin, Delaware, Lancaster, Lehigh, Monroe, Montgomery, Northampton, Schuylkill, and York County. In New Jersey, attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout New Jersey's 21 counties: Atlantic, Bergen, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Essex, Gloucester, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Salem, Somerset, Sussex, Union, and Warren County, In New York, Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout New York's 62 counties. Outside of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, unless attorney Joseph D. Lento is admitted pro hac vice if needed, his assistance may not constitute legal advice or the practice of law. The decision to hire an attorney in Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania counties, New Jersey, New York, or nationwide should not be made solely on the strength of an advertisement. We invite you to contact the Lento Law Firm directly to inquire about our specific qualifications and experience. Communicating with the Lento Law Firm by email, phone, or fax does not create an attorney-client relationship. The Lento Law Firm will serve as your official legal counsel upon a formal agreement from both parties. Any information sent to the Lento Law Firm before an attorney-client relationship is made is done on a non-confidential basis.