Joe Biden's niece, Caroline Biden, avoids jail time after pleading guilty to DUI

Caroline Biden is the daughter of President-elect Joe Biden's brother, James.
Caroline Biden is the daughter of President-elect Joe Biden's brother, James. Photo credit: Getty

Caroline Biden, the niece of US President-elect Joe Biden, has escaped a prison sentence for driving under the influence (DUI).

The 33-year-old was sentenced to a period of "confinement" between 20 days and six months after pleading guilty to driving under the influence of a controlled substance on December 3, according to court records.

However, Biden will not spend a day behind bars after negotiating a plea deal with the Montgomery County District Attorney in Pennsylvania. She has instead been given five months of probation, with 20 days in rehab counting towards her sentence.

In July, an investigation by the New York Post found members of the Biden family had avoided jail time for at least eight other incidents.

In a statement to The Post, Kate Delano, a spokeswoman for the Montgomery County DA, confirmed that Biden will be on probation.

"Should she then violate or break the law at any time, then she will be on the hook for the rest of the sentence."

Biden was also ordered to pay US$1990 in fines and legal costs and participate in a public or nonprofit community service programme for 12 hours.

Her licence has been suspended for a year and she will be required to participate in a drug and alcohol awareness programme, Delano said.

The 33-year-old, the daughter of the President-elect's brother, James, was caught after crashing her car into a tree in Pennsylvania in August 2019. She was also driving without a licence.

Her car contained pill bottles for the muscle relaxant and pain reliever carisoprodol as well as lorazepam, commonly used to relieve anxiety. A blood test later confirmed that the medications, both controlled substances, were in her system at the time of the crash - including other drugs.

Caroline Biden.
Caroline Biden. Photo credit: Getty

Biden's arraignment was held on November 4, one day after the landmark presidential election - with her uncle officially confirmed as the winner earlier this week.

Mike Gottlieb, a Pennsylvania-based attorney with experience in DUI cases, told the New York Post the ruling was fair for a first offence.

"It is not an unusual sentence to get credit for the time in rehab. So truthfully, I don't think she was treated any differently than any of my clients would have been," he told The Post.

According to a court summary, Biden was also charged for driving without a licence and careless driving - however, both were nolle prossed, meaning the prosecutor was unwilling to pursue the charges. 

Although the DUI marked Biden's first offence in Pennsylvania, the 33-year-old's criminal record in New York includes spending more than US$110,000 on a stolen credit card and allegedly assaulting a New York Police Department officer.