Partner Rich Daubenberger successfully avoids 90 day mandatory minimum jail sentence for client.

Partner Rich Daubenberger successfully avoided a 90 day mandatory minimum jail sentence following a DUI suspended license trial. The alleged Defendant was pulled over in Marple Township. The Police Officer alleged that the Defendant had a blood alcohol content of .02 or greater while operating the vehicle, as well as a suspended operating privilege due to a prior DUI. With a violation like this one, a 90 day mandatory minimum jail sentence would usually be required, however, Rich Daubenberger was able to get the Defendant out of this 90 day jail sentence.

Title 75, the Vehicle Code, offers specific guidelines and regulations in terms of operating vehicles. Section 1543 (b)(1)(i) is clear that any person who drives a motor vehicle on a trafficway at the time that their operating privilege is suspended or revoked as a condition of Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (related to driving under the influence) will be sentenced to undergo imprisonment for a sentence minimum of 60 days, but no more than 90 days. Section 1543 (b)(1)(ii) is the statement that a second violation of this paragraph will then turn into a summary offense and the alleged Defendant will be forced to undergo imprisonment for no less than 90 days.

In order to maintain that the alleged Defendant would not receive a mandatory sentence of no less than 90 days, partner Rich Daubenberger used the case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Khalid Eid. This was a recently decided PA Supreme Court case where the Defendant, Eid, was convicted of driving under the influence, driving under suspension by person who refused to submit a chemical breath test, and other related offenses. Eid appealed these convictions and the case was taken to the Supreme Court who then decided the case in April 2021. The reason for this appeal was to challenge the penalty for refusing chemical testing for DUI and to challenge the constitutionality of the statute as it has no maximum sentence.

During his appeal, Eid specifically states that subsection 1543(b)(1.1)(i) “is illegal because the Legislature fails to provide a clear statutory maximum penalty applicable to the crime rendering the permissible range of sentences unconstitutionally vague in violation of due process under both the Pennsylvania and Federal Constitutions.” During this case, the panel recognized that 75 Pa.C.S. § 1543(b)(1.1)(i) does indeed contain no express statutory maximum penalty, it only states a term that is a minimum of 90 days. The court in Eid’s case had imposed a sentence of 90 days to 6 months imprisonment on top of a two-year probationary term which caused both of the sentences to exceed the lawful maximum and therefore the court ruled that Eid’s sentence was illegal. The Supreme Court then decided that they were now going to leave it up to the General Assembly to either amend the statute to provide for a maximum term of imprisonment or expressly permitting the flat sentence within a range not to exceed the maximum sentence.  To conclude the case of Eid, the Supreme Court decided that the only lawfully imposed punishment due to these convictions is that of the $1,000 fine.

Using the evidence and facts presented in the case of Commonwealth v. Eid, Rich Daubenberger was able to present to the court in his DUI suspended license case that the imposition of a mandatory minimum 90 day sentence was unlawful and should not be the sentence received in this case. Because of Rich’s arguments presented in court, the alleged Defendant was able to escape a 90 day mandatory minimum jail sentence for the allegations in this case.

Rich took his research and knowledge of the law to help the alleged Defendant escape the possibility of a 90 day or more sentence of imprisonment. Here at Musi, Merkins, Daubenberger & Clark we are committed to getting the best results for you or your loved ones. If you are seeking support in the criminal law department, Rich Daubenberger is willing, able, and ready to assist you.

Call us today at 610-891-8806 to schedule an in-person or virtual appointment.