Generally, the Pennsylvania courts must abide by statutory guidelines when sentencing people convicted of DUI crimes. As such, sentences that exceed the maximum penalties under the guidelines may be deemed unlawful. The court can consider aggravating factors when issuing sentences, however, and in some cases, such factors could result in an increased penalty, as demonstrated in a recent ruling issued in a Pennsylvania DUI matter. If you are charged with a DUI offense, it is in your best interest to speak to a dedicated Pennsylvania DUI defense attorney to determine your rights.
Procedural History of the Case
It is reported that the defendant was arrested and charged with DUI, which was his first offense. He pleaded guilty, and in exchange, the Commonwealth withdrew several other criminal charges and recommended a sentence in the low-end of the standard range. During the defendant’s colloquy, the court noted that the offense was graded as a first-degree misdemeanor, which was not typical for a first offense DUI, due to the fact that there was a minor in the car at the time of the defendant’s arrest.
Allegedly, the court further explained that the defendant could face up to five years imprisonment. The defendant confirmed that he understood and admitted to the elements of the crime, including the fact that a child under the age of two was in his car when he was arrested. The court sentenced the defendant to three years imprisonment. He went through numerous rounds of appeals, arguing in part that his sentence was illegal because it exceeded the maximum penalty for first-time offenses under the statutory guidelines. Continue reading