The Philadelphia DUI Law Blog

June 2010 Archives

Bucks County resident Stephen Andrew Strassburg pleaded guilty to reckless driving, driving on a suspended license and under the influence of "metabolites of marijuana," according to The Reporter. The resulting head-on collision from supposed drugged driving claimed the life of 50-year-old Philadelphia man Wayne Cooper.

Blood tests showed traces of marijuana and the drug clonazepam in his system at the time of the crash, however it's not clear if he was in fact impaired at the time. A Pennsylvania DUI attorney can provide more information about the matter, but state law makes it illegal to operate a vehicle with even traces of marijuana in the bloodstream.

Since marijuana stays in the system for up to several weeks after its use, Stephen Strassburg's level of impairment is questionable.

Corporal John Quigg Jr., an off-duty Pennsylvania State Police trooper, was killed last Wednesday when he drove the wrong way on the Schuylkill Expressway under the influence of alcohol, according to The Delaware County Daily Times. His car hit another vehicle head-on and John Quigg was not wearing a seatbelt at the time of impact.

In a sad irony, the veteran state cop oversaw DUI checkpoints in the Philadelphia region and specialized in the investigation of fatal crashes in the greater metropolitan Philadelphia area.

But it wasn't such a shocker for Pennsylvania DUI attorney Timothy Woodward, who represented the state trooper after a DUI arrest in December. 

A 25-year veteran Delaware prosecutor now is on the receiving end of criminal charges after he was arrested by Doylestown Township police on suspicion of driving under the influence, according to the Delaware News Journal. 

Deputy Attorney General Steven Wood was stopped after police spotted his silver SUV weaving in the southbound lane of Easton Road. The arresting officer said he smelled alcohol on the defendant's breath and that he slurred his words, failed a field sobriety test and admitted that he was drinking at a nearby bar. 

Cyrus "Zack" Shepherd-Oppenheim, the 22-year-old son of actress Cybill Shepherd, was ordered to attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings by the judge presiding over his theft case, the Philadelphia Daily News reported.

The court order specifically says he must attend 24 AA meetings as a condition of his sentence stemming from theft charges at Philadelphia Airport.

While he was charged with theft and not driving under the influence, court-ordered attendance of AA meetings usually is reserved for DUI offenders. Savvy Philadelphia DUI lawyers often request mandatory AA meetings in exchange for expungement of the charges.

Delaware County school bus driver Christine Rogers was arrested last week and charged with a DUI, ABC Philadelphia reported. Police say her blood-alcohol concentration was 18 times the legal limit for school bus drivers, recorded at .374 percent. 

While the legal BAC limit for most Pennsylvania drivers is .08 percent, bus drivers are held to the much lower threshold of .02 percent.  

Even though she has yet to be convicted of the crime, as a Philadelphia DUI lawyer would be the first to remind us, Christine Rogers was immediately fired. She drove for the Wallingford-Swarthmore School District for 10 years.

As has already been widely reported, Pennsylvania state police arrested a record number of motorists for driving under the influence last year. But a Scranton Times-Tribune article suggests that greater scrutiny of motorists' drug use might be one of the main reasons for the increase.

More than 1,100 Pennsylvania drivers were tested by police last year for signs of illegal and prescription drug impairment. A new state training program on drug impairment has made state troopers better able to detect dangerous drivers, often leading to DUI arrests.

And as any Philadelphia DUI lawyer will tell you, impairment by legal prescriptions drugs, let alone illicit substances, is at least as serious under the law as drunk driving.

DUI is the most frequently charged crime in suburban Bucks County, according to an article in the Bucks County Courier Times. But the entire state of Pennsylvania, which set a record last year for DUI arrests with nearly 17,000, also should serve as a sobering reminder to stay safe on the roads this summer.

One of the issues discussed in the article is the seemingly massive gulf between having one or two drinks before driving and becoming heavily intoxicated. Pennsylvania DUI attorney Michael Saile Jr. said drivers should simply drink moderately if they must drink:

"I would skip that martini. I would not have more than two glasses of red wine with dinner."

Real Housewives of NYC Star Sonja Morgan Charged With A DUI

PA DUI lawyers are buzzing about the latest DUI case from New York.

According to People, the newest Real Housewives of New York City star, Sonja Morgan was charged with a DUI in Southampton, N.Y.

Sonja Morgan, who is the ex-wife of John Morgan (heir to the J.P. Morgan fortune), apparently whizzed by a stop sign at approximately 2:16 a.m. and was immediately pulled over. After failing field sobriety tests, and refusing to take a Breathalyzer test, Sonja Morgan was charged with a DUI. Her court date for the charge is not yet known.