Harrisburg PA DUI Lawyers
Dauphin County/Harrisburg DUI Defense
As one of the oldest and most influential counties in the development of our nation, Dauphin County is located in South Central Pennsylvania, approximately 100 miles west of Philadelphia and 200 miles east of Pittsburgh.
One of the first immigrants to arrive in Philadelphia, accompanying William Penn, was John Harris. Harris and his wife eventually built a log cabin on the banks of the Susquehanna, near present-day Paxton and Front Streets. John’s son, John Harris, Jr., became the founder of Harrisburg, as well as a leader in the movement to establish Dauphin County. John Harris, Sr., introduced the first plow to the area when he began farming in Dauphin County. He was eventually granted 300 acres of land, by patent, which included the current site of the Dauphin County Courthouse. Harris also developed a large trade in furs and skins with the Indians, establishing a number of trading posts. Harris, Sr. died in 1748, buried beneath a mulberry tree in River Park.
Initially, the land which is now Dauphin County was a part of Chester County. The county was named Dauphin in honor of the King of France’s eldest son. The city was named Harrisburg, following a brief stint being named Louisbourg in honor of the French King. At the time, a stormy debate arose as to whether the county seat should be in Harris Ferry or in Middletown, although it was eventually established that the county seat would be “near Harris Ferry.” Harrisburg is not only the capital of Pennsylvania, it is the county seat of Dauphin County. Harrisburg is the 15th largest city in Pennsylvania, lying on the east bank of the Susquehanna River, 107 miles west of Philadelphia.
The city of Harrisburg played a notable role in American history during the Industrial Revolution, the American Civil War, and the Westward Migration. During the Civil War, Camp Curtin was established near Harrisburg for the Union soldiers, escaping occupation by Confederate forces when General Lee diverted his army when it was within sight of Harrisburg. During the 19th century, the Pennsylvania Canal and the Pennsylvania Railroad allowed Harrisburg to become one of the most industrialized cities in the United States. The Pennsylvania Farm Show was first held in Harrisburg in 1917, as the largest free indoor agricultural exposition in the U.S.
Today, Harrisburg hosts an auto show, an outdoor sports show, motocross racings, remote control car racing and much, much more. Unfortunately, Harrisburg is also infamous for the Three Mile Island accident which occurred in 1979, near Middletown. Forbes Magazine rated Harrisburg the second-best place in the United States to raise a family in 2010. Harrisburg also ranked among the top 20 metropolitan areas in the U.S. to be “recession-proof, due in part to the high concentration of state and federal government agencies. The current state capitol, constructed of limestone and granite, was completed in 1906. With 1,100 acres devoted to parks, Harrisburg once boasted more parks per square mile than any other city in America.
Dauphin County Alcohol Education Program Classes
Dauphin County offers 100 percent online DUI 12-hour, 16-hour, 20-hour, 24-hour, 28-hour, and 32-hour DUI Alcohol Education Program Classes for every person placed on ARD or other preliminary disposition as a result of driving under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance. These courses could not only be required by ARD, but also as a mandatory alcohol education program to fulfill court, employer, or state-mandated requirements. Online courses are taken at your convenience and at your own pace so you will not be forced to sit in a classroom for hours. Many courts in Dauphin County will require 12-16-hour courses for first-time offenders and longer courses for repeat offenders. It is necessary to gain court approval prior to registering for the classes.
New Pennsylvania DUI Laws
Pennsylvania has never been a state which is soft on DUI offenses, and recently, the laws have gotten even tougher for those caught driving while impaired. In 2018, a new felony category was created for certain DUI offenses. Drivers who cause a fatal accident while under the influence would face a minimum of five years in prison for each death—up from the current three years—if the driver had a prior DUI conviction. If the driver had two or more prior DUI convictions, the minimum prison term for each death in a fatal DUI accident would be seven years.
Pennsylvania Parents Against Impaired Driving, a group of parents in the state who have lost children to DUI accidents, believe repeat offenders in the state are responsible for at least 40 percent of all DUI fatalities. The bill also provides that multiple repeat offenders who are arrested for the third DUI with a BAC of .16 or higher would face felony charges. All repeat offenders who are facing a fourth or subsequent arrest for impaired driving would also face felony charges. Currently, Pennsylvania is one of just four states which treat all “standard” DUI convictions as misdemeanors.
The new law increases the penalties for driving while serving a DUI license suspension. Under the old laws, the maximum penalty was a $500 fine and up to 90 days in jail, regardless of whether the offense was a first or subsequent offense. Under the new law, a second DUI offense results in a fine up to $1,000 and at least 90 days in jail, while a third offense results in a $2,500 fine and up to six months in jail. Finally, the new law stipulates that any adult accompanying a driver with a learner’s permit must remain sober, or risk being charged with DUI as a passenger.
Ignition Interlock Laws in the State of Pennsylvania
Ignition Interlock devices are now required for first-time offenders with a high BAC level and those who are repeat DUI offenders. Those who refuse to submit to a chemical test for a first DUI, as well as repeat DUI offenders who refuse to submit to a chemical test, will be required to have an Ignition Interlock device installed for a year. Any person who violates the terms of his or her Ignition Interlock device will then be required to have the Ignition Interlock period of time extended. Any person with a BAC higher than .10 percent will be required to have an Ignition Interlock device installed—in short, the only time an Ignition Interlock device is not mandatory is for a first-time DUI (within ten years) with a BAC less than .10 percent, and no injuries caused by the impaired driving.
Ignition Interlock devices prevent drivers who have been drinking from starting their vehicle. If alcohol is detected when the driver blows into the device, the vehicle will not start. Periodically, while the driver is driving, he or she will be prompted to blow into the device, and if alcohol is detected, the device will tell the driver to pull over as soon as it is safe to do so. The costs associated with a Pennsylvania Ignition Interlock device run between $900 and $1,300 per year.
ARD in Dauphin County
The purpose of the Dauphin County ARD Program is to take offenders who “have not yet made crime a way of life and encourage a fresh start under the supervision of the court and probation officials.” Successful completion of the Dauphin County ARD Program allows the participant to restore a clean record. To qualify for the Dauphin County ARD Program, the applicant must have a record free from serious criminal convictions and must not have been accused of a violent crime. The ARD Program in Dauphin County accelerates rehabilitation; following being held for DUI court by an issuing authority, a defendant can apply for the ARD Program by completing an application. If you complete the application at your preliminary hearing, you must elect to waive arraignment. Once you have completed the ARD program and waived arraignment, the DA’s office will send you a notification of the date for your ARD hearing—usually 90 days after application.
Prior to the scheduled ARD hearing, a defendant must pay an ARD acceptance fee, all outstanding restitution, and other costs and fees. After being admitted into the Dauphin County ARD Program, if you fail to complete the program, you can be tried for your original DUI charges. Any money paid toward ARD fees and costs is non-refundable. After being placed in the ARD Program, you will be required to attend a Victim Impact Panel and four 4-hour Alcohol Highway Safety classes. If a license suspension applies in your case, you must surrender your license to the Court Clerk on the day you are accepted.
Our Dauphin County/Harrisburg DUI Lawyers Are There When You Need Us
At Ciccarelli Law Offices, our Dauphin County/Harrisburg DUI attorneys are here to help you following your DUI charges. We understand you are facing many serious penalties, and that you may be feeling very anxious about your future. It is likely you have many questions you need answered, and we will comprehensively answer those questions. We understand that if you are unable to drive, you may be unable to work, therefore, we will always fight hard to retain your driving privileges.