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 The Philadelphia DUI Treatment Court is a program designed to address second and third offense DUI cases in Philadelphia. In a normal Pennsylvania DUI case, if a person is found guilty of a second offense in the highest tier, they are facing a ninety (90) day mandatory minimum period of incarceration. Obviously, this 90 day period can have a devastating effect on a person’s job, family, and financial well-being. Because of this, the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas designed the DUI Treatment Court to allow rehabilitation of DUI offenders without destroying their lives.


If a defendant decides to participate in the Philadelphia DUI Treatment Court program, a period of their jail time is converted to house arrest. While on house arrest, a participant in the DUI Treatment Court program is still be able to go to work and to attend any medical or substance abuse programs outside their home. The house arrest conversions are as follows:


Second Offense, Tier 3

          For a defendant charged with a second DUI in the past ten years who has a BAC over 0.16, the mandatory minimum period of incarceration is ninety (90) days. A participant in the DUI treatment court program would have to serve the first ten (10) days of their sentence in county custody, and the remaining eighty (80) days of their sentence on house arrest with a concurrent two (2) year probationary period.  


Third Offense, Tier 3

          For a defendant charged with a third DUI in the past ten years who has a BAC over 0.16, the mandatory minimum period of incarceration is one (1) year. A participant in the Philadelphia DUI Treatment Court program would have the opportunity to reduce this sentence to serve six (6) months in county custody and the remaining six (6) months on house arrest with a concurrent three year period of probation.




          The Philadelphia DUI Treatment Court program is a one year long, 4 phase program designed to give a participant the tools they need to be successful after the program ends. The four phases are as follows:


  • Phase 1: Assessment. This first phase is one month long and assesses the participant’s treatment needs. This assessment determines the level of care the participant requires - whether that care is inpatient, outpatient or intensive outpatient treatment.


  • Phase 2: Sobriety & Treatment Plan. This next phase covers a two month period and focuses on the participant maintaining sobriety and completing a treatment plan that they may follow through their recovery.


  • Phase 3: Sobriety & Support Plan. The third phase is a one month phase designed to maintain sobriety while completing a sobriety support plan to assist the participant to continue their recovery.


  • Phase 4: Complete Sobriety & Aftercare Plan. The fourth and final phase is an eight month phase designed to determine an aftercare plan for the participant. This aftercare plan can be followed by the participant beyond the structure of the Philadelphia Treatment Court.




           To be eligible for the DUI Treatment Court, the charge must be a second or third offense where the prospective participant:


  • ​is subject to a mandatory minimum sentence of 90 days or one year in prison;


  • has no history of violent crime (past conviction for murder, aggravated assault, rape, arson, burglary, firearm possession or others);


  • did not seriously injure or endanger anyone in the commission of the crime (no accident with serious injury; defendant did not leave the scene of an accident; defendant did not flee from police; there was no child aged fourteen years or younger in defendant’s vehicle);


  • is physically and mentally able to participate in the DUITC program;


  • has not previously participated in, but failed to complete, the DUITC program.


No matter which DUI statute you have been charged under, you can challenge a DUI on a number of grounds:


  • Probable Cause: An officer must have reasonable suspicion to stop your vehicle and probable cause to request that you perform field sobriety tests or submit to a breathalyzer.


  • Sobriety Test: These tests are nothing more than an opinion of whether or not you are intoxicated by an officer whose job it is to gather evidence of your guilt. There are only three nationally recognized field sobriety tests and the results should be challenged in court by an experienced attorney.


  • Breathalyzer Test: The Intoxilyzer 5000 is under heavy fire in Pennsylvania and numerous other states. The results simply are not accurate and the machine does not do what it purports to do.


  • Officer training: Officers need specialized training to conduct a DUI investigation and arrest. Likewise, special training is required to administer a breath test.


  • Officer conduct: The overall conduct and experience of an officer at the scene can be challenged.


  • Diversion: You may be eligible for the state's Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD).


  • Plea Bargain: Your attorney may be successful in seeking a reduction or dismissal of the charges.

If you or someone you know has been charged with a DUI/DWI, do not delay in contacting an attorney. Attorney Michael F. Niznik will review your case and offer you a free consultation regarding the charges. 



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