Archive for the ‘DUI’ Category

Do I need an attorney for ARD or other first time offender program

Many people who take advantage of our free initial consultation ask, either directly or indirectly, whether it is necessary to have an attorney for a first offense when a “first time offender program” like Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) is offered.   In short, it is always best to have an Attorney by your side when you have any Court appearance and a first time offender program is no different.

Initially, it is very important to have an attorney review your matter as a first time offender program may be inappropriate where a valid factual or legal defense exists.  Many people who think that they were caught “red handed” may not realize that he government has a heavy burden when seizing a person or property and evidence that may seem incriminating can sometimes be suppressed due to improper government action.  An attorney should be able to review the facts and the evidence with you during a free consultation and explain the benefits and disadvantages of proceeding either with a first time offender program like ARD, or defending through pre-trial practice and trial. (more…)

Consequences of Driving Under the Influence – Ignition Interlock

Many people are aware that Driving Under the Influence of Drugs or Alcohol – that, driving with a blood alcohol limit of .08 or above (.02 for minors and .04 for CDL drivers) carries heavy consequences including expensive fines, and often mandatory periods of incarceration.  Many people are also aware that civil consequences, including a driver’s license suspension of either twelve or eighteen months, also follow a DUI conviction.  However, people are often surprised to learn that even after the license suspension, a requirement for Ignition Interlock is required on any second offense within a ten year period, including juvenile consent decrees and acceptance into accelerated rehabilitative disposition (ARD).

An ignition interlock system is a mechanical device installed on any motor vehicle which prevents the vehicle from being started or operated unless the operator provides a breath sample which registers below a .025% Blood Alcohol Content.  It is a device installed in your car that requires the driver to blow before the vehicle may be started.  The cost of installation and monitoring are the responsibility of the offender.

When discussing DUI cases with my clients, I find that people often have the following questions regarding ignition interlock devices: (more…)

NHTSA recommends reducing blood alcohol content for driving under the influence charges from .08 to .05 but is safety the consideration?

In Pennsylvania, it is not a crime to drink and drive.  Criminal conduct occurs when one drinks to the point of impairment which the legislature has determined to be a blood alcohol content of .08 or higher.  However, NHTSA is now recommending that this amount be reduced to .05, a level which, according to a recent Huffington post article, and NHTSA’s own literature, is “about one drink for a woman weighing less than 120 pounds, two for a 160-pound man”  According to the article, “NTSB officials said it wasn’t their intention to prevent drivers from having a glass of wine with dinner, but they acknowledged that under a threshold as low as .05 the safest thing for people who have only one or two drinks is not to drive at all.”  However, in August of 2000, NHTSA published the Driver Characteristics and Impairment at Various BACs which concluded that impairment begins at a blood alcohol rate of .02%.  (more…)

Supreme Court of United States decision in Missouri v. Tyler G. McNeely

On April 17, 2013, The Supreme Court of the United States decided the matter of Missouri v. Tyler G. McNeely, (no. 11-1425) holding that a blood test without a warrant is unconstitutional and the human body’s metabolization of alcohol does not, without more, present exigent circumstances which would allow for a n exception to the Fourth Amendment Guarantee against unreasonable searches and seizures. Justice Sotomayor further stated that a case by case analysis is necessary to determine exigency.

The importance of this decision on Pennsylvania Driving After Imbibing (DUI) matters is minimal. Pennsylvania has adopted an “implied consent” for blood alcohol testing when the police believe that a driver is likely intoxicated. According to section 1547 of (more…)

Penalty for Alcohol and Marijuana Offenses Unrelated to Recent Research

A recent study in the Journal of Psychopharmacology concluded that Alcohol is more than twice as harmful as cannabis to users and that increased policing of marijuana usage results in only the criminalization of young people with no significant reduction in Health related risks.  Although this study is based on United Kingdom research, the conclusion is supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that suggested the rate of alcohol and marijuana consumption is increasing although resultant injuries are only increasing in children that consume alcohol.  One study even suggests that the driving after imbibing alcohol is more dangerous than driving after imbibing marijuana and legalization of marijuana has the benefits of reduced alcohol purchase and consumption and reduction in vehicle related accidents and fatalities. (more…)

Judge Rules DUI Breathalizer Test Results Inadmissible

In a recent decision, Dauphin County Judge Lawrence F. Clark, Jr., held that results from the Intoxilyzer 5000EN breathilizer machine were not scientifically reliable and thus inadmissible against defendants in certain DUI cases.  This ruling will affect pending DUI cases in Dauphin County, as well as many recent convictions.  Anyone with a pending or recent DUI should contact an attorney immediately to discuss their options. (more…)

DUI Drug Convictions

Under the way the current law is written, you do not have to actually be intoxicated at the time you are driving to be convicted of a drug-related DUI.    (more…)

Too Many Traffic Violations can Land You in Jail

ABC News recently reported on a man who was sentenced to a 60 day prison term after receiving his 38th citation for driving under suspension.  You can access the story here: Traffic Offense. (more…)