Under Pennsylvania law, the penalties increase for each DUI crime a person is found guilty of committing. If a person charged with DUI accepts ARD, though, they may be able to successfully assert that a subsequent DUI crime should be charged as a first offense. This was demonstrated in a recent Pennsylvania case in which the court rejected the Commonwealth’s arguments to the contrary. If you are accused of a DUI crime, it is smart to confer with a trusted Pennsylvania DUI defense attorney regarding your potential defenses.
Procedural History of the Case
It is reported that in 2013, the defendant was charged with a DUI offense. He was accepted into the ARD program, which he completed in 2015. Then, in 2019, the defendant was charged with DUI second offense. He entered a guilty plea, but then the Superior Court of Pennsylvania issued a ruling stating that absent proof beyond a reasonable doubt that a defendant committed a prior offense, prior acceptance of ARD could not be counted as a prior offense for purposes of DUI sentencing.
Allegedly, the defendant then filed a motion to quash the charge graded as a second offense. The trial issued an order directing the defendant to withdraw his guilty plea but stated if he declined to do so, he would be sentenced as a first-time offender. The Commonwealth appealed, arguing that the trial court erred in failing to provide it the opportunity to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the subject charge was the defendant’s second DUI offense. Continue reading