There is never a good time to get a DUI. In addition to possible jail time, probation, fines, community service, Drug and Alcohol evaluations and ever-growing court costs, there is the collateral consequence of having your driving privileges suspended. If you get caught driving while your license is suspended for a DUI and convicted of a subsection under 75 Pa.C.S. 1543(b), you potentially face 60 days in prison, 90 days if it’s a second offense and six months for a third or subsequent offense. Until recently, if you were caught driving on a DUI-suspended license with 0.02 percent alcohol or any illegal drugs in your system you could have received 90 days in jail. In short, driving while your license is suspended is serious business and can really make a bad situation worse, especially if you are still on probation for the original offense.
Recently though the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania weighed in on cases where someone is charged under certain subsections of the statute dealing with driving on license suspended for a DUI. In Commonwealth v. Eid, the court found that section 1543(b)(1.1)(i) was illegal because a 90 day mandatory minimum sentence was constitutionally vague as there is no corresponding maximum sentence. In Pennsylvania, under 42 Pa.C.S. 9756(b), in general, a minimum sentence must be half that of any maximum sentence allowed. The court also seemed to indicate that this logic applies to subsections 1543(b)(1)(i) and (ii) as well but since those charges weren’t at issue in that case, the ruling didn’t apply to them. Accordingly they are still on the books and are a very real and potential threat if convicted. To make things more uncertain, various judges and District Attorneys from different counties in Pennsylvania are responding differently to this recent court decision.
While Commonwealth v. Eid may mean good news, if you have been charged with driving while DUI-suspended be sure to speak with an attorney who knows the law and is willing to make sure you are treated fairly. Mooney Law is trusted, proved, and experience in the court room. If you have been charged with DUI, or for that matter, any crime, call one of Central Pennsylvania’s leading criminal defense firms. We have 16 office spread throughout Central Pennsylvania and Northern Maryland to help you. Call for a consultation today at 717-200-HELP or 717-632-4656.