Chester County DUI IPP Program
Many of the counties in Pennsylvania have seen an increase in driving under the influence (DUI) arrests over the years. These impaired driving cases include not only drunk drivers but motorists under the influence of drugs or prescription medications as well. Counties across the state have sentencing guidelines, alternatives, and mandatory minimum sentences.
Your West Chester DUI attorney with Ciccarelli Law Offices may be able to get you entered into the intermediate punishment program (IPP) if you meet specific eligibility requirements. This may allow you to avoid some of the harsher penalties associated with a DUI conviction. Find out whether you qualify and how to apply for the DUI IPP program in PA when you contact our law office for a confidential consultation today.
The Intermediate Punishment Program for PA DUIs
Individuals who operate or are in control of motor vehicles when their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels reach or exceed .08% or are otherwise incapable of driving the vehicle safely can be charged with driving under the influence. Both drunk and drugged drivers can face similar penalties, including mandatory minimum sentences, even for first-time offenders. For example, if this is your first time being charged with and convicted of a DUI, you may face a mandatory minimum sentence of fines up to $5,000 and at least three days in jail.
However, you may be eligible for intermediate punishment if you have been convicted of multiple DUI charges over the years. The intermediate punishment program IPP may be an excellent option if you hope to avoid some of the more severe consequences of a guilty verdict. However, not everyone will qualify, and if you do, there are specific restrictions and limitations you may be subject to.
How To Reduce Jail Time After a DUI
Even though DUI charges come with mandatory minimum sentences, a judge is empowered and enabled to modify the terms of the sentence and where the sentence is served under the Intermediate Punishment Program. Specifically, the Judge has the authority under the IPP, to allow an individual facing a mandatory period of incarceration to serve some period of that “confinement” at home with a home monitoring device rather than at a county jail.
Eligibility Requirements for IPP in Pennsylvania
The Chester County Intermediate Punishment Program is a sentencing alternative that begins when an eligible person files an IPP application with the Probation and Parole Dept. within thirty days of sentencing. Any person with a conviction in Chester County who has no past or present pattern of violent behavior and who, otherwise, would receive a jail sentence, is eligible for IPP. The focus of the program is on those who are considered non-violent, and are Level three or four offenders. Any person who does have a past history of violence as well as a person with a parole or probation violation is not eligible for the IPP program.
If serious injury to another person was involved in the current offense, or if a minor was present in the automobile at the time the offense was committed, no eligibility of IPP exists. There is an exception to the prohibition to the IPP program for a person who committed their current offense during a time they were on supervised parole. The exception states if the person who violated his or her parole has a substantial history of substance abuse, requiring treatment under the County Prison’s Prison Recovery Program—and otherwise qualifies for IPP—then he or she may be eligible.
According to 42 Pa.C.S.A. 9802, there are several criminal convictions that will preclude admission to a DUI IPP program. If a defendant has been found guilty of any of the following offenses over the last 10 years, they will not qualify for enrollment in a county intermediate punishment program:
- Escaping from police under 18 Pa.C.S. § 5121
- Robbery under 18 Pa.C.S. § 3701
- Murder under 18 Pa.C.S. § 2502
- First-degree felony burglary under 18 Pa.C.S. § 3502
- Assault by a prisoner under 18 Pa.C.S. § 2703
- Theft by extortion under 18 Pa.C.S. § 3923
- Voluntary manslaughter under 18 Pa.C.S. § 2503
- Statutory sexual assault under 18 Pa.C.S. § 3122.1(a)(1)
- Aggravated assault under 18 Pa.C.S. § 2702
- Kidnapping under 18 Pa.C.S. § 2901(a)
- Incest under 18 Pa.C.S. § 4302(a)
- Assault by life prisoner under 18 Pa.C.S. § 2704
Considerations for Intermediate Punishment Sentencing
When sentenced to intermediate punishment, you will find out how long the intermediate punishment program sentence will be based on the court’s analysis of the circumstances of your case. The judge or jury will not impose a sentence that exceeds the maximum term of confinement for the DUI charges you were facing. There is no imposition of a minimum or maximum term in DUI IPP programs. In fact, the court has the discretion to impose a combination of partial or total confinement in conjunction with intermediate punishment.
This decision is made by the trial court judge presiding over your case, not the county’s probation department. This is because these agencies do not have the authority to sentence a defendant, deny or grant alternative sentencing, or determine eligibility for these programs. The court system will need to carefully evaluate the circumstances of your case to determine whether you meet the IPP program requirements.
Portions of IPP Changed in Chester County in 2014
Even a person who qualifies for IPP is not automatically qualified to participate, as the Court can exercise its discretion in the matter. In 2014, Chester County changed portions of the IPP, with one of the most significant changes being those who were charged with a 3rd DUI within ten years with a BAC of .16 or higher, or those who refused testing, were no longer eligible for IPP.
If a person is granted IPP, he or she will be permitted to leave their residence only for work, court-ordered conditions, and doctor’s appointments. Weekly reporting is required, and the cost of monitoring is $10 per day, which must be paid each week. A working telephone line must be installed prior to sentencing. Community service should be arranged and approved by Adult Probation prior to sentencing. The Chester County IPP does not explicitly guarantee work release and does require a specific period of incarceration, home monitoring, intensive probation supervision, and, when necessary, drug or alcohol treatment.
IPP in Other Pennsylvania Counties
In Delaware County, the IPP has five phases, lasting 30 months, and offers participants treatment, housing, vocational training, and relapse prevention rather than jail time. When a person completes the program, a dismissal of all charges and expungement will occur. If the program is not completed, sentencing will occur. To be eligible for the Delaware County IPP a person must have pending new criminal charges or a Delco violation of probation or parole, must require addiction treatment, must be motivated for recovery, and must be willing to undergo court supervision.
The IPP in Lancaster County allows a straight jail sentence to be exchanged for a combination of house arrest with electronic monitoring, work release, and intensive supervision by probation officers. Bucks and Montgomery Counties, while not offering a program like the Chester County IPP, do offer a work release program that is designed to assist offenders in reintegration into their community and into the employment market. A defendant who agrees to Philadelphia County IPP is pleading guilty; in exchange for a guilty plea, the disposition may offer intensive outpatient drug treatment, long-term inpatient drug treatment, or short-term inpatient treatment. House arrest is required, usually for a period of 3-6 months, and the person may be sentenced to 40 hours of community service as well as two years reporting probation.
It is important to realize that eligibility for IPP in any county does not guarantee entitlement to the program. If you feel you may be eligible for IPP, you must discuss this with your Pennsylvania attorney. Your attorney has a thorough understanding of the program and can determine your eligibility as well as completing the necessary papers and ensuring they are received within the allowed time period.
Chester County DUI IPP – FAQ
We understand how complex intermediate punishment programs can be when you are facing a DUI conviction. For this reason, we have answered some of the most recently asked questions regarding these programs below. If you have additional questions we do not cover on this page, do not hesitate to connect with a West Chester criminal defense lawyer from Ciccarelli Law Offices to discuss your options in greater detail during your confidential strategy session.
Will intermediate punishment include jail time in Pennsylvania?
The Pennsylvania trial courts have the authority to determine jail time and confinement at their discretion based on the specific circumstances of your case. Some examples of punishments included with DUI IPP programs include:
- Partial or total confinement without parole
- Obtaining permission from the courts before leaving the state of Pennsylvania
- Being required to avoid contact with law enforcement officials through the commission of a criminal offense
- Being required to avoid associating with criminals
- Refraining from drug and alcohol use
- Maintaining a strict probation schedule
- Electronic monitoring
- Completion of a drug or alcohol treatment pro
- Community service hours
Can my DUI IPP program be terminated?
Yes, the Pennsylvania trial courts have the authority to terminate an intermediate punishment sentence at any time. They can also increase or decrease the conditions of your IPP program under Pennsylvania Rule of Criminal Procedure 708. If you violate the terms of your intermediate punishment, your IPP could be revoked, and you could be subject to the mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines of the DUI charges against you.
Can I receive intermediate punishment if I am facing a mandatory minimum sentence in Pennsylvania?
Turn to Chester County’s Leading DUI Law Firm
Getting entered into a DUI intermediate punishment program could be the best way to dodge some of the toughest consequences of a conviction. Once you fulfill the terms of your IPP, you can start to rebuild your life. However, not every DUI case will meet the eligibility criteria for IPP.
Find out whether you have an opportunity for alternative sentencing and how you will go about defending yourself against your drunk driving charges when you contact Ciccarelli Law Offices for a confidential consultation. You can reach us through our online contact form or phone to get started on your DUI defense strategy as soon as today.