As a general rule, the more rural the county the more harshly they will view a charge of Driving Under the Influence. This dynamic in and of itself can significantly increase your risk of receiving a sentence of incarceration.
Your prior record is the other big factor when making an initial determination of the likely outcome in your case. Why?
Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) is available to Defendants with minimal or no prior record. This program allows a charge of Driving Under the Influence to be expunged upon completion of probation. The program generally consists of a period of probation along with other sanctions and treatment options depending on the facts and circumstances of you individual case. However, if you are not eligible for the ARD program, it is quite possible, depending on the County in which you were charged, you may be facing a period of incarceration.
If you are not ARD eligible, your attorney's understanding of your constitutional rights becomes imperative. Why?
The most common defense to a charge of Driving Under the Influence is a challenge to the legality of some aspect of your case. In most instances, this comes in the form of a challenge to the stop, search, or arrest by law enforcement. If law enforcement improperly stopped, searched, or arrested you, that can be a bar to their prosecution.
Any accompanying license suspension can be the most difficult sanction you receive as it relates to your DUI. Why?
In some instances, the suspension can place your job at risk. Also, due to the financial and everyday stress of having someone drive you around, your relationships with any significant other or even children can be negatively impacted. Sometimes significantly. Suspensions relating to DUI offenses in Erie PA can range from none at all (in very few circumstances) all the way to multiple years depending on how many prior offenses a person has and the specific facts and circumstances of their case.
As one might expect, this is not an exhaustive list of the concerns you should be aware of as you navigate through the judicial system with a Driving Under the Influence charge. However, it’s a good start.