The Philadelphia DUI Law Blog

February 2010 Archives

Cumberland County May Create DUI Court

In response to the increasing number of DUI cases that are appearing in Cumberland County Court, the Patriot news reports that the .

If they receive enough funding from the state, people arrested for a DUI may be able to get their case heard in court much sooner than usual. Now, it can take six months or more to have a DUI case processed. The officials hope that with a new system in place, it would only take a couple of weeks to have first-time DUI offenders sentenced and placed into substance-abuse treatment programs.

Man Pleads Guilty To Fatal DUI Outside Of Phillies' Ball Park

Last week, KYW NewsRadio reported that accident that took place in 2008.

On July, 10, 2008, two women were struck by Mr. Genovese's car outside of Citizens Bank Park; where the Phillies play. The Assistant District Attorney of Philadelphia, Beth McCaffrey explained how the accident occurred:

"Mr. Genovese was driving southbound on Broad Street with his seat tilted back (and) music blaring, high on marijuana. As he approached the red light that as at Curtin Street, he went to overtake a car that was stopped in front of him at the red light. He went through the light, over Curtin Street, and hit both of these women."

Former CMU Prof Pleads Guilty to 4 DUIs

ABC 4 News reports that a  last week.

Jeffrey Hunker, the former professor at Carnegie Mellon University and a computer security director in the Clinton administration, had a string of DUIs in August of 2008. During that month, Mr. Hunker was involved in three DUI arrests that occurred within eight days of each other: August 17, 19 and 24. At that time, he was still employed with the university.

The fourth and final DUI in his guilty plea happened at the end of November in 2009. The arresting officer in that instance, Officer Jeffrey Deschon claimed that Mr. Hunker ran a red light. During that outing, Mr. Hunker also ran into a number of parked cars within a mile of his home on Shady Avenue. Since he has pleaded guilty, the next stage of his trial will take place in May when he will be sentenced,

3 Injured By Off-Duty Officer In Suspected DUI Crash

The Philadelphia Daily News reports that as of early this week, a state accident. Sadly, the car that put Trooper Matthew Sheeran in the hospital was driven by one of his own.

Troopers Matthew Sheeran and Michael Sadowski as well as a tow-truck driver, Will Kane, were were all injured when a car collided with a row of vehicles. The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that at behind an abandoned vehicle. The tow-truck driver, Will Kane, was underneath the abandoned car hooking it up to his tow truck. As he was underneath the vehicle, Officer Matthew Sharkey allegedly drove his vehicle through the warning flares and into the police cruiser.

DUI Checkpoints Get More Funding

As an added measure of awareness, the Intelligencer reports that DUI checkpoints are set to occur this week on February 26, 27 and 28. They should be held within Bucks County; and if you would like any information about the DUI checkpoints you are welcome to call 215-249-9191.

know that DUI checkpoints are going to become more and more frequent in Pennsylvania thanks to an increase in their funding.

For example, Go Erie reports that the Crawford County . While they have only arrested eight drunken drivers so far this fiscal year, as opposed to the 22 that were apprehended in the past year, Sgt. Greg Nichols claims that it's not because their methods aren't working. On the contrary, he claims that they are arresting fewer drunken drivers because the police officers have made such a great impact. "I believe we're definitely having an impact... We're seeing a lot more designated drivers and more people on buses.

Woman Gets 1 to 5 Years For DUI

A  will tell you that this is a cautionary tale of what not to do when you are arrested for a DUI.

The Pike County Courier reports that on February 11,  for a DUI and being unruly during her arrest. She will be serving her time in a Pennsylvania state prison because she was stopped at a DUI checkpoint in Pennsylvania. On September 13, 2009, Mrs. Rankin was stopped in the Westfall Township. She refused to have her blood alcohol content tested. Findlaw explains that by . Hypothetically, in Ms. Rankin's case, she  might have had to spend time in jail, pay as much as $5,000 in fines, complete an Alcohol Safety School course, have her license suspended for a year, and submit to a drug and alcohol assessment.

No Automatic License Suspension If Arrested For A DUI?

ABC 4 News had a special report that explained that a person . What will happen to the suspect's license depends on the outcome of the trial. If they are convicted of a DUI, then they will lose their license. Pennsylvania is one of nine states that does not automatically suspend your license if you are arrested for a DUI. 

In other states, you would lose your license for a set number of days after the arrest. In New York, the suspect's driver's license is seized until the trial. 

FindLaw explains that if you are convicted of a DUI in PA, the length of your . If you are convicted of your first DUI, and your BAC level at the time was less than 0.10%, then you will not likely lose you driver's license at all. Instead, you will probably pay a $300 fine and complete a mandatory Alcohol Highway Safety course. Instead of jail time, you will most likely be on probation for 6 months.

Drunk Driver Attempts To Flee Police On I-77

All will tell you that fleeing the scene or trying to elude the police is a bad idea. Especially if you do so on an interstate highway.

The Canton Rep reports one example that occurred last month when a man was arrested for a number of charges including .

On Friday, January 22, the Jackson Township police received a call that a vehicle on the 4400 block of Portage Street may be involved in the illegal act of solicitation. When officers arrived to assess the situation, the vehicle initially pulled over at Portage Street and I-77. However, once the officers stepped out of their vehicles, the driver Mr. James Smith tried to make a break for it.  

Woman Arrested For DUI At Her Home

Pennsylvania DUI attorney Brian Manchester is defending his client in an unusual DUI case.

The Centre Daily reports that . In November of 2009, police received a phone call from a driver claiming that "an erratic driver had run three people off state Route 550." By the time that police had found the alleged car, Mrs. Wilson was already inside of her home.

Trooper Michael Berta testified that when the suspect answered the door 16 minutes after they received the 911 call, Mrs. Wilson seemed impaired.

To explain her slow speech and heavy eyes, Mrs. Wilson claimed that once she had returned home, she had taken her medication. After a DUI test was administered, she was found to be impaired.

Her Pennsylvania DUI attorney argued that only shows, "that she was impaired at the time of the test... Driving poorly is not proof of driving impaired."

Drunk Volunteers Help Police Study For DUIs

A PA DUI lawyer will tell you that it's not very often that a drunk person helps out a police officer.

However, ABC 27 News reports that in York County, there is a . Once the participants have had a certain number of alcoholic beverages, the officers study them. In the course, the officers ask the volunteers to perform mock field sobriety tests. Based on how they move and act, the officers gauge whether the participant is legally drunk or not.

George Geisler of the Pennsylvania DUI Association commented that "Anybody can pick up a 0.17, but when it gets down to the lesser levels of impairment, that's where the officers need to have their skills really finely tuned."

Three Teens Charged In High-Speed Chase

The Public Opinion reports that , and the driver was charged with a DUI.

The police reported that the vehicle, driven by James George Smith, was going as fast as 108 mph. The car had the three teenage boys inside and was traveling southbound on I-81 when the Pennsylvania State police were alerted to the vehicle's high travel speed. Since it was 4 a.m. and still dark out, Mr. Smith attempted to lose the police by driving with his lights turned off.

The Herald Mail detailed the driver's attempt to escape the police: the car left I-81 at exit 5, continued to go at Pa. 16, and then returned to I-81 through the on-ramp.

Cops Worried About Tweets of DUI Checkpoints

ABC 27 News reports that police officers are worried about a new trend. People are using located.

These social networking sites are popular programs that allow the user to access timely snippets of information. Right now, the police are concerned that by using these sites to warn others of a DUI checkpoint, drunk drivers may heed the tweets and drive home on a different road. The users of these networking sites would avoid the checkpoints, but not a future accident.

A spokesman for the Pennsylvania state police issued a statement saying, "Although that's legal to do, I submit the people Twittering, if they saw the death and destruction that drunk drivers caused, the only thing they'd be Twittering about is how dangerous drunk driving is." He went on to say that by tweeting this information it "almost enables people to take the chance and drink and drive."

Pennsylvania Faulted For Ignition Interlock Device Law

Advocates for Highway & Auto Safety issued a report last month that faulted including the ignition interlock device.

The non-profit group describes itself as an "alliance of consumer, health and safety groups and insurance companies and agents working together to make America's roads safer." Advocates encourages the adoption of ."

After analyzing the report, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette listed some of the more egregious issues with current Pennsylvania traffic laws and it included the fact that

Philadelphia On List Of Drunkest American Cities

In a Men's Health article titled, , Philadelphians, Pennsylvanians and PA DWI lawyers should be proud of their city for ranking number 89. However, it would have been better if the city was not on the list at all. Nevertheless, at least the city wasn't in the top ten.

The list itself is numbered from one to 100: with 1 being the drunkest city. The city rating is based on the number of city dwellers that have liver disease, binge drink, and are arrested for a DUI. The list also factors in how many deaths there are on account of DUI-related accidents and how tough the DUI laws are in the area.

You may be surprised to hear that Men's Health ranked and gave it a grade of B+. The city was reported to have 92 deaths from liver disease, 68 deaths from DUI crashes, 69 people admitting to binge drinking within the last month, 63 DUI arrests and 10 harsh DUI laws.  

Four Suspected Drunk Driving Accidents Within Seven Hours

PA DWI lawyers witnessed a busy night after four car crashes occurred just over the span of seven hours.

The Sunday News reports that on Friday night and Saturday morning of last weekend, police believe that  each.

The first suspected drunk driving accident occurred on Friday night at 7 pm. Mr. Damion Gregory Charlton was driving in New Providence when he was allegedly involved in two hit-and-run car crashes. After he fled the first scene at 12 Main Street, he hit another car at 79 Main Street. He is said to have left the second accident by foot. Police claim that Mr. Carlton then broke into a home on Truce Road in an attempt to hide; but he was soon discovered and arrested.

Repeat DUI Offender Allegedly Drinks In Front Of Cops

A PA DWI lawyer will tell you that a case like this is hard to find.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that Kevin Earl Clark of Chester County was pulled over for suspicion of DUI when, as

The situation began on Thursday night at 6:30 p.m. when the 44-year-old man was spotted driving on Waterloo Boulevard. The Daily Local News reports that a West Whiteland police officer was driving into the Exton Plaza Center when the left side of his . Mr. Clark failed to stop, continuing east until he was stopped by two officers at North Pottstown Pike.

Different Field Sobriety Tests For Obese Suspects

A recent DUI case has DWI lawyers across the country, including Pa DWI lawyers, buzzing about the "fat defense."

FindLaw's Knowledge Base explains that the Mr. Choudry qualifies as obese based on his Mass Body Index (MBI): Mr. Choudry is 5 feet and 10 inches tall, and he weighs 230 pounds. His DWI lawyer argued that the officers went against protocol by asking his client to stand on one leg and walk heel-to-toe for nine steps.

CO Bill Twice The Jail Time Of Repeat PA DUI

If a new bill is passed in Colorado, it could have repeat DUI offenders serving twice as much time as repeat DUI offenders in Pennsylvania.

According to the Denver Post, in Colorado, the criminal justice commission is supporting a . Some of the specifics of Rep. Claire Levy's bill are that a second time repeat DUI offender would have to serve between 10 days to one year in jail. If this was their third DUI offense, the jail time would range between 60 days to one year. Also, they could be put on probation for two years after their jail time, and if they do not follow all of the rules of their probation, they could be put back in jail for another year. 

Police Say 2010 Could Be Record Year For DUIs

State College, Pennsylvania police have released some recent DUI statistics that could mean that 2010 will be a very busy year for PA DWI lawyers.

On January 14, 2010, between 12:30 a.m. and 3:11 a.m., according to the official site of the city, State Capt. Dana Scott Leonard is quoted as saying that the . The first arrest involved a Montgomery County man who was caught driving the wrong way on Pennsylvania Route 26. When his BAC level was tested, he registered at 0.276%. That is over three times the legal limit of 0.08%.

The second arrest occurred when a 66-year-old man drove onto the sidewalk at Calder Way. A good Samaritan noticed the difficulty that the driver was having and the danger that he could cause to himself and others. The good Samaritan removed the car keys from the vehicle and called the police. When the State College Police arrived, they administered a BAC test, which the driver failed by registering a 0.436% (over five times the legal limit).

PA DUI Penalty: Victim-Impact Panel

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If you are convicted of a DUI in Pennsylvania, a  could tell you that one of the penalties that you may have to face is a victim-impact panel.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that in 2008, "." This high number makes the state the fourth highest for DUI crashes in the country. That could explain why the victim-impact panels are so popular: In Bucks County there is a victim-impact panel every two months, and it is always at capacity with 80 people inside of the Warrington Township Building. Throughout the three hour presentation, DUI offenders listen to people who have been impacted by drunk drivers.

PA Turnpike Commissioner Resigns Over 2 DUIs

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that that he failed to report to the commission.

Mr. Carson gave Gov. Ed Rendell his letter of resignation that explained how in 2003 and 2006, Mr. Carson was involved in two separate drunk-driving accidents that resulted in DWI convictions. He claimed that he did not report the two accidents to the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission which is required, because of his "failure to acknowledge that I had (and still have) an alcohol dependency problem." He went on to say, "It is clear to me that my lack of judgment and the disclosure of the incidents that resulted would compromise my effectiveness as a Pennsylvania Turnpike Commissioner.

Man Who Allegedly Fled Scene Will Have DUI Case Go To Trial

The Republic & Herald reports that

The Times News reported that the accident occurred on December 13, 2009, just after 3 a.m. when  with his 2003 Ford F150 truck. The victim had his 1996 Chevrolet Cavalier in the middle of East Centre Street in Donaldson with his hazard lights blinking because he was delivering newspapers at the time. The force of the collision caused the victim's car to hit two parked car. The troopers at the scene stated that the impact caused the victim's vehicle to catch on fire.

Drinking Parties Diminish BAC Testing Supplies

The Kittanning Paper reports that police officers of  for testing at DUI checkpoints and traffic stops because a recent string of drinking parties has diminished their stock.

Police Chief Michael Karabin explained, "The test gives our officers probable cause that someone is under the influence of alcohol in order to require them to get a blood test." The exact machine that the police chief is referring to is not mentioned in the article. However, the supply that the officers are running low on is the mouthpiece to that machine. Apparently, each suspect uses a new mouthpiece, and when they have finished their test, the mouthpiece is disconnected and disposed of.

Repeat Offender Indicted For Aggravated Manslaughter

The Press of Atlantic reports that that ended the life of one man and injured the victim's wife and daughter.This tragic accident occurred on September 12, 2009, after Lawless had already been arrested 7 other times for DUI.

Lawless, 37, was driving on Route 9 in New Jersey near Bennett's Crossing when he allegedly could not handle his car while driving along an s-curve. Lawless went into the opposite lane and . The victim died at the scene. His wife and daughter were both airlifted to Cooper University Trauma Center in Camden with critical injuries.

Woman Gets 11 Years For Vehicular Homicide in DUI Case

In Cookeville, Tennessee, a woman was sentenced to 11 years in prison for the death of a Pennsylvania native in her DUI case.

The Herald-Citizen reported that Rebecca Galyean was found guilty of vehicular homicide and vehicular assault in December of last year. At her sentencing last week, she received 11 years as well as 4 and a half years for her crimes. The sentences will run at the same time, meaning that she will serve 11 years total.

The Cookeville Times reports that while driving on I-40 between Nashville and Knoxville. The three victims were all in the 2009 Saturn when the collision occurred at 3 a.m.

Drunk Driver Charged With The Deaths of 3 People

A drunk driver has been charged with three counts of homicide by vehicle for the deaths of three people. The Morning Call adds that he was also charged with "involuntary manslaughter,... homicide by vehicle, drunken driving, disregarding traffic signals, reckless driving and careless driving."

The Staten Island Advance reports that the three victims were in a 1999 Infiniti I30 when Bruno's 2006 Dodge Dakota pickup slammed into them. The accident occurred at 12:11 a.m. at the intersection of Willow Park Road and Easton Avenue in Bethlehem Township, Pa. Two witnesses told police that they saw Bruno speeding above 40 mph and driving recklessly before the crash. They reported that Bruno was running red lights and had illegally passed a car.

PA Officer's DUI Case On Hold Pending Rehab Program

Columbia Borough Police Officer Daniel Clayton Bell, 36, has gotten a second chance after being accepted into the Accelerated Rehabilitation Disposition  (ARD) program. This comes as great news to Bell and his , Douglas Bare, because it could be seen as the first step in the right direction for the former detective. TMC News reports that after his DUI crash in May of last year, Bell, was demoted to police officer. 

The accident occurred on East Market Street in Hallam. Bell was driving in the 400 block when he drove into the wrong lane and hit a parked Jeep Cherokee. The force of the collision caused Bell's own Jeep Cherokee to flip over and the other Jeep to be moved from the side of the street into someone's driveway. In addition to the accident, Bell left the scene and did not call the police to inform them of the accident.

State Trooper Waives DUI Hearing

Corporal John Quigg, 47, of the Pennsylvania State Police, is set to stand trial after he . He has been charged with a DUI, careless driving, and having an open container of alcohol in his vehicle. 

Quigg received some notoriety for the DUI charge because, as the Philadelphia Daily News reports, : "he can determine what intoxicant a person is on by evaluating behavior and other factors."

PA Man Gets 2 DUI Charges Within 8 Days

A man from Carlisle, Pennsylvania, will need a  to represent him on . This feat was accomplished when Rick Minnich was found asleep behind the wheel of his parked van, twice.

Channel 8 WGAL News reports that police arrived at East Pomfret Street on Jan. 11, when they were notified that a van had been involved in an accident. Once Minnich was awake, police stated that he could not stand and that his BAC level was over 0.24%. That is over three times the legal limit of 0.08%. The Cumberland County DA Dave Fred remarked that "Most people would be hospitalized before you even get to that level."

PA Bus Driver Charged With DUI On Field Trip

A Pennsylvania man was charged with driving under the influence (DUI) in addition to other charges when he was driving 15 students to the Carnegie Science Center for a field trip. As of last week, the court has not listed a  for the bus driver's DUI case. 

The Associated Press reports that the Carrick High School students thought that their bus driver looked strange because his eyes appeared glazed over, he kept slurring words and laughing.