Q: I was detained for a DUI in April but have not received anything
in the mail. Is there a possibility they sent to wrong address? Is there any
way to check to see if charges have been filed? (West Mifflin, PA)
A: If you have no internet prowess
or no computer, call the District Justice office located in the town in which
you were stopped. You can also call the police department that stopped you. You
can also hire an attorney to inquire. If the address you gave the police when
you were stopped has changed, you may have missed your mail which is no defense
legally. If you missed a court date, hire a lawyer to arrange to turn you in
and set bond.
Q: I got a first-time offense DUI and was accepted into the ARD program. I haven’t paid off my fines and I still need to take one class. I have one month to my court date. If I pay off the rest of my fines and complete the class before I go to court can I possibly not get my ARD revoked? Should I contact my PO tomorrow to see if they have any advice, or is it too late to call them? (Pittsburgh, PA)
A: Yes, in Allegheny County, all is not lost, especially if you have a month to get it together. You need to be proactive and get everything done. Call your PO immediately and give him your spin on your recent financial difficulties. If you pay and complete your class before the hearing, and the PO still wants to go through with the hearing, you should probably take a lawyer to court. You don’t want to have your ARD revoked because it is a one-time deal and will prevent you from having a record.
Q: I was pulled over and received a simple possession charge a week before my introduction to the ARD program for a previous DUI charge. What’s the best course of action from here? (Peters Twp., PA)
A: You need to get the simple possession charge withdrawn or reduced to a summary offense at the District Justice level. If that is not possible you should try for a Probation Without Verdict (PWV) disposition at the trial level. It is still possible that the DA will revoke your ARD. I would talk to your lawyer immediately so he or she can check what the current DA policy is on this. The last time I had a client in this situation, the rule was that you could have a prior PWV and get ARD, but you could not have a prior ARD and get PWV.
Q: My friend got a double DUI here in Pennsylvania all the court stuff is done. My friend is on probation but my friend got a DUI in Georgia before my friend even was on probation here but their court system is slow there and she just recently got the charges reduced to exercise of due care a slap on the wrist no DUI. But, with that, is that a violation of probation in Pennsylvania even though my friend got in trouble in Georgia before trouble in pa but Georgia’s court done after getting probation here. (Munhall, PA)
A: I think what you are asking is, can one be in violation of probation on the first case for committing a new offense, if the person was not sentenced on first case before getting arrested for the new offense? The answer would be no. The new offense would not violate probation on the first case if probation on the first case didn’t start running. Your friend should review the details with her PA attorney to be certain of the dates.
Q: Preliminary hearing papers state I am charged with a first offense DUI. Will they know about my past DUI at the hearing? I had a DUI 7 years ago in another state. The court papers state that I am being charged for a first offense DUI. Is this what they normally put on the paper work regardless of the offense count? How likely is it that my past DUI will be discovered by the DA?
A: Normally, the DA in your county will find it. However, although it is rare, I have had it happen where the DA was not aware of a prior. You have no obligation to inform the DA of your prior unless they would file for discovery and thereby formerly ask you, which is unlikely. Assuming they find it, you have not made 10 years since the prior conviction and therefore your new DUI will be considered a second DUI.