Q: My husband is on state parole and has been doing very well staying out of trouble. However, this past week I had issues with my car, and it broke down and I was hysterical crying. He had offered to drive although he has a suspended license due to his legal issues. We ended up getting pulled over and my husband was very compliant and explained he does not have a license. The police officer ended up issuing 3 tickets; 1 for inspection, 1 for fail to change address and the last for driving with a suspended license due to a prior DUI offense. Today we got a court hearing notice for the tickets and our main concern is if he will have to do jail time considering this would be a violation of his parole. For being on good behavior, he did just step down in his program so it’s not so intense for his PO to do check in. Is it worth seeing if there is a possibility for house arrest or extended parole sentence as opposed to jail time? We are trying to prepare ourselves in this matter and plan accordingly for what our options may be, if any. (Pittsburgh, PA)
A: Your husband is only charged with summary level motor vehicle offenses. Summary level motor vehicle offense convictions on parole are only considered to be technical violations of probation or parole, and hence not subject to penalties invoked if one is a “convicted violator” as in being convicted of a misdemeanor or felony while on parole. If he is convicted of the 1543 driving under suspension, his parole officer could recommend no action being taken, sanctions or a small amount of jail time. As far as the 1543, this carries a 60 days jail sentence for a first offense, but Allegheny County offers electronic monitoring house arrest. Make sure he has an attorney. Depending on the Assistant DA and the officer, this case could be pleaded down to a 1501 or 1511. Neither of those carry a jail sentence or license suspension. I have luck with these cases, but it really depends if law enforcement wants to give him a break.