What is the STOP Program?
When a state trooper and a middle school principal are stopped in Berks County for driving under the influence (DUI), you know that drinking and driving is a serious problem.
It is estimated that in the United States, 50 percent of first time DUI offenders and 80 percent of second and subsequent DUI offenders will be rearrested at some point for another DUI offense.
If you have been charged for your second DUI within the past ten years, you are not automatically thrown in jail for the mandatory minimum sentence. You may be eligible for the Second Time Offenders Program (STOP). This is a pre-sentence intervention program. Successful completion of this drug and alcohol treatment plan can help you become eligible for an intermediate punishment or alternative sentence with minimal jail time.
After you apply to the STOP program, the probation department reviews your case, schedules a drug and alcohol screening test and a relapse risk assessment. A pre-sentence investigation is performed. If you are eligible, the probation department makes all necessary arrangements for you to enter drug and alcohol treatment. Depending on the results of the relapse risk assessment, you may be referred to a DUI residential program or outpatient treatment. During the pre-sentencing phase you are monitored for drug and alcohol use. Another arrest can get you ejected from the program.
After completion of treatment, you are scheduled for sentencing. A jail sentence may be calculated based on a number of factors including:
- Your blood alcohol level at the time of arrest
- Accident involvement and severity of injuries
- Victim statements
- Information contained in the pre-sentence report
You may be eligible for electronic home monitoring as well. The length of your intermediate supervision and your driver’s license suspension are determined in part by your blood alcohol level at the time of your arrest.
It is important to have a good lawyer when you have been charged with a DUI in Pennsylvania. The state has a number of alternative sentencing programs that can minimize the severity of your punishment. Be sure to hire a criminal attorney who has the experience and knowledge necessary to navigate the complex judicial system.