Will I face jail time? I can’t do jail!

Q: I live in PA and was pulled over for expired license plate. I haven’t had my driver’s license for 8 years due to an accident that placed a suspension on me which I still owe fines for. I was charged with 4 misdemeanors and 2 summary offenses. I was hit with possession of pot, possession of cocaine, DUI, driving with no license, and expired registration. (Brentwood, PA)

A: A first time DUI carries 72 hours in jail. First time DUI offender’s are eligible for Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) whereby there is no jail, no resulting criminal record and a reduced license suspension (from 12 or18 months down to 30 or 60 days). However, you must have a valid driver’s license and you must not owe any prior court costs, fines or restitutions. If you are not ARD eligible, you may receive a fast track or “Phoenix Court” deal whereby you would be sentenced to the DUI hotel, an alternative to jail. If the DUI hotel is not acceptable to you, some judges will offer you a choice between 72 hours in the jail or a longer period on electronic home monitoring house arrest. You should really consult with a criminal defense attorney.

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