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Repeat drunk driving charges lead to alcohol monitoring for some

Pennsylvania residents who have been arrested for a second drunk driving infraction may be required to submit to round-the-clock alcohol monitoring in order to be qualified for release through bail. A new policy in York County has demanded that such offenders be subject to this type of monitoring, and officials say the regulation is successful. Now, some lawmakers say they are considering implementing the policy statewide for those facing a second drunk driving charge. Authorities say that the additional alcohol monitoring policy was sparked by the high blood alcohol content levels that are seen in many DUI cases. The average BAC level has reached about 0.17 percent, which is slightly above the 0.16 threshold that increases the severity of the drunk driving offense. State officials say they are also concerned about the fact that about 25 percent of drivers will receive a second DUI before their courtroom proceedings are finished from their first arrest. The monitoring policy parallels new sentencing trends that have led to more offenders receiving alcohol monitoring and house arrest instead of being sent to prison. Officials say that alcoholics who are forced to remain sober may be more likely to realize the significance of their DUI charge. Further, statistics show that there has been a significant drop in the number of offenders in York County who receive repeat DUI offenses within a year of the first arrest. Monitoring as a condition of release may be considered positive for the general public, but does it violate defendants’ rights? State lawmakers are still working to decide whether they want to risk implementing the policy throughout multiple jurisdictions. Pennsylvania defendants who are facing alcohol-monitoring requirements may benefit from the legal guidance provided by a criminal defense attorney. Source:  The Patriot-News, “If you are arrested for a second DUI, should you need 24/7 alcohol monitoring to get bail?” Jeff Frantz, Apr. 01, 2014

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