Appeals court: Pa. county can't ban DUI from ARD

DUI DWI Laws

Pennsylvania Superior Court says a southwestern Pennsylvania County was wrong to keep people charged with drunken driving out of a special probation program for first-time offenders.

As a result, the Herald-Standard in Uniontown says the court has overturned the conviction of 49-year-old Laura Sarapa, who was sentenced to 90 days to 23 1/2 months in prison in December 2009.

The court says Greene County officials were wrong to enact a policy that banned DUI cases from the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition program. The program offers a special probation sentence, after which a defendant's record can be expunged. People charged with some serious crimes are barred from the program by state law, but drunken driving isn't among those offenses automatically excluded.

The appeals court says judges can already refuse to allow someone into program, and that the automatic ban takes away the court's discretion.

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