I was arrested for DUI with my child in the car... what am I facing?
When an individual gets arrested for a DUI in Pennsylvania, this can be a very serious offense that can carry with it a significant amount of jail time. In some cases, individuals are arrested for a DUI while their minor child is in the car. The fact that a child was in the vehicle at the time of the arrest, significantly changes the circumstances and outcome of your case.
What does the law say about DUI with a minor in the car?
The law in Pennsylvania pertaining to DUI with a minor in the vehicle states that:
An individual who violates section 3802 where a minor under 18 years of age was an occupant in the vehicle when the violation occurred commits:
A misdemeanor of the first degree if the individual has no more than one prior offense.
A felony of the third degree if the individual has two or more prior offenses.
A person arrest for DUI with a minor in the car will face additional penalties on top of whatever penalties their DUI charge have.
The following penalties for driving while intoxicated with a minor in the vehicle are:
1st Offense: Mandatory $1,000 fine and 100 hours of community service and 18 month license suspension (as opposed to a 12 month license for a middle tier or highest tier first offense DUI with no minor in the car)
2nd Offense: Mandatory $2,500 fine, 30 day jail sentence, an additional maximum sentence of up to 6 months and an 18 month license suspension
3rd or Subsequent Offense: Mandatory minimum 6-month jail sentence and additional maximum sentence of up to 2 years and an 18 month license suspension
Section 3803(b)(5) of the Motor Vehicle Code further states that a person who commits a 1st or 2nd DUI where a minor is in the vehicle at the time of the arrest commits a 1st-Degree Misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to 5 years in jail a fine of up to $10,000.
If an individual is charged with their 3rd DUI and there is a minor in the car that will be deemed a 3rd-Degree Felony which is punishable by up to 7 years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000.
What does this mean for ARD?
Even if you are facing a first time DUI offense, having a child in the car creates significant barriers to allowing you into the ARD program. If the child is under the age of 14 at the time of the DUI, the chances of being accepted into ARD, regardless of what county you are in, is extremely low.
If the child is between the ages of 14-18, it is not automatic that you will be rejected from the ARD Program but you will have to really show a compelling reason to the District Attorney’s Office - ARD Unit as to why you should be considered for the Program. Proof of treatment after the DUI, an emergency reason for driving the car impaired, and various other strong mitigating factors will help your chances of getting into the ARD Program despite the fact that a minor was in the car.
I got a DUI while my child was in the car...who should I call?
At The Town Law, we understand just how stressful facing criminal charges can be. With our vast experience handling criminal cases throughout Bucks County, Delaware County, Chester County, Montgomery County, and Philadelphia County in Pennsylvania, we are well-equipped to ensure you get the best result possible with attentive attorneys by your side throughout the process. Contact our firm today for a free consultation. Our staff of experienced attorneys is dedicated to the best outcomes for all of our clients.