Commonwealth v. Lee

The Pennsylvania Superior Court ruled that a juvenile adjudication of delinquency for DUI qualifies as a first offense for sentence enhancement purposes. While she was on probation for her guilty plea to DUI, the defendant violated and was re-sentenced. She appealed, challenging her underlying sentence on the DUI charge, not the revocation proceedings or sentence. The Pennsylvania Superior Court noted, “When, on appeal from a sentence imposed following probation revocation, an appellant collaterally attacks the legality of the underlying conviction or sentence, such an approach is incorrect and inadequate.” Nevertheless, the Court considered the defendant’s challenge to the legality of the underlying DUI sentence as a timely first PCRA petition. The defendant argued, under Commonwealth v. Chichkin, the trial court erred when it graded her DUI offense as a 2nd offense based upon a prior adjudication of delinquency for DUI. The Court found that the General Assembly intended an adjudication of delinquency as a prior offense triggering the mandatory sentencing enhancements of 75 Pa.C.S. § 3806.

Lee