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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 30393
Experience:  Criminal Justice Degree, JD with Criminal Law Concentration. Worked for the DA and U.S. Attorney.
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I have a DUI in PA - Millcreek area - it happened in January

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I have a DUI in PA - Millcreek area - it happened in January 3 2012 but they sent the charges for this to me in May 2012. CAn they do this?

I have been battling cancer since 10/2011 and have been able to get continuances - now trying to see what my options are - this would be the 2nd in 2 years (actually 3) but the case in Wisconsin - refused to take breathe a liser - is an automatic - OWI.
Also is this a Felony? Every Attorney in that area states I am going to jail - no way out of it - no negotiating. Not even with Cancer? Or work program - I live and work in MI. Have 2 children and have to get to drs and work - 44 miles - each way - plus I drive for my job to Customer sites.

My name is XXXXX XXXXX I'd be happy to answer your questions today. I'm very sorry to hear about your situation.

Traffic tickets are usually issued on the spot, as are DUI charges, but that's not legally required. It's done more for ease and logistical reasons than anything else. The statute of limitations on pressing charges is 2 years after the date of the offense. So, legally, they can bring charges a couple of months later.

For a third or subsequent offense, the statute requires 10 days of jail time. This is absolutely mandatory. Unfortunately, the judge does not have the ability to waive this requirement, and the prior DUI will likely be counted, even if it was in another state. A second offense carries a mandatory imprisonment of 5 days. Either a second or third offense is a misdemeanor of the second degree, not a felony. But, unfortunately, a work program is unlikely. You could see if they'll allow you to serve weekends so that you could still go to work, but your license will be revoked, so you won't be able to drive.

If there was a hearing that you did not attend, the judge can enter a default judgment against you, because you failed to show up, and sentence you on that basis. If the reason that you did not show up was because of your medical problems, you can ask the judge to remove the default, apologize, produce evidence of your condition, and see if they will allow you to enter a plea of not guilty.

Please rate my service before signing out, as this is the only way that I get credit for the time I spend helping you. I hope that you are 100% satisfied - if not, please click "reply" so that we may continue the conversation. Good luck.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Hmm - just spoke to an Attorney there in PA - They have said there is a possibility to plea bargain certain areas and that a work release program could be honored but in that state not my state. This is if we can get the minimum - they would try lessing the BAC level with the DA from .21 down below some. What do you think? Do you have any case history over the last 12 months that shows please or work release programs - I have to drive to work - which they said could be arranged as well. Please let me know what you can find.

If you're willing to negotiate a plea bargain and plead guilty, you have a little more wiggle room. However, that's not really the situation that you described. You described a situation where you have already missed the court date, and you have been found guilty in your absence, which, quite honestly, takes away quite a bit of your bargaining power. If you get the guilty plea withdrawn, that is a big first step, but there are no guarantees. When you go to court, you do have a right to ask to have an attorney appointed if you cannot afford one. Because these cases are so fact-specific, it's a good idea to have an attorney appointed who can review the evidence.

The court may be willing to do a work release program if you are sentenced to more than the minimum amount of jail. However, those days in jail are required by the statute, so the 5 or 10 days will most likely be required. Also, the law requires an 18 month suspension, and for a second or subsequent offense, a person must wait 12 months before being able to even request a hardship license. So, you'd have to be able to negotiate it down to a first offense, and there's no way that I can promise you that you'll be able to do that.
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