The Philadelphia DUI Law Blog

August 2010 Archives

This blog reported last week on the trial of Brian O'Neill, whose fatal DUI case was centered around the question of whether he actually was impaired by marijuana he admitted to smoking earlier in the day. He tested positive for marijuana, which stays in the bloodstream for up to a month after ingestion.

But was he stoned when he went the wrong way on a highway ramp and collided into George and Diane Parker, killing them? Brian O'Neill's Pennsylvania DUI lawyer, of course, argued that he was not.

The Associated Press reported that former professional basketball star Jayson Williams, who played two seasons with the Philadelphia 76ers, has pleaded guilty to DWI (driving while intoxicated) in a Manhattan courtroom.

He will serve a one-year prison sentence on top of the five-year prison term he's currently serving in New Jersey for accidentally shooting and killing a limousine driver. Given his recent legal troubles and the fact that his blood-alcohol content registered more than twice the legal limit, a Philadelphia DUI lawyer probably would have recommended a guilty plea as well.

Brian O'Neill, a 20-year-old West Nantmeal man on trial for vehicular manslaughter and felony DUI, tested positive for marijuana, according to the West Chester Daily Local. But since THC (the herb's active component) remains in the system for up to a month after ingestion, the question is whether he was actually stoned at the time of the incident.

Daniel Bush, Brian O'Neill's Pennsylvania DUI lawyer, insists that the prosecutor's evidence must prove that the marijuana in his system at the time of the accident was actively intoxicating and impacted his ability to drive a car:

"What you will see is that this case really was just an accident, one with horrific results that has ripped apart families on both sides of the case, but nevertheless just an accident."

Former Springettsbury Township police officer Gary Utter, 39, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of driving under the influence of alcohol, The York Dispatch reported. 

But although he was sentenced to 28 days to six months in York County Prison, the judge gave him credit for 28 days served in a rehabilitation center for substance abuse. Gary Utter was ordered to surrender his driver's license for 30 days and must pay a $500 fine, according to Pennsylvania DUI lawyer Korey Leslie.

US Magazine reported that the season 6 winner of reality show "The Bachelor," Maribel "Mary" Delgado, has been arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol in Tampa, Florida. She allegedly refused a blood-alcohol test.

This is not her first brush with the law, as the former Tampa Bay Buccaneers cheerleader was arrested for public drunkenness in a Texas bar two years ago. And in 2007, she was arrested for punching season 6 bachelor Byron Velvick, who eventually chose and proposed marriage to her.

Judge J. Michael Williamson sentenced John Englert to five to 11 years in prison for running his boat into another while under the influence of alcohol, killing 12-year-old Valerie Heidt, the Centre Daily Times reported.

The deadly boat crash took place on the Susquehanna River on July 10, 2009.

But while his waterborne DUI took the life of a young girl, homicide by watercraft while under the influence is a lesser felony than homicide by land-bound vehicle while under the influence. A Philadelphia DUI lawyer could better explain the reasons for the difference.

An Associated Press article published in The Pittsburgh CW reported that the 14-year-old victim of a recent DUI collision near Edinboro last weekend, Joshua Gibson, was the driver's son. The driver, Christa Logue, was charged with vehicular homicide while under the influence of alcohol and possibly other drugs.

Pennsylvania state police said they discovered an empty bottle of vodka, two unopened bottles of beer and some prescription pills in her van after the accident. The 39-year-old mother didn't have a Pennsylvania DUI lawyer as of Aug. 6, according to court records cited by reporters.

Pennsylvania's Dept. of Transportation (also known as PennDOT) finalized changes to its driver record-check system, which will make accident information accessible by school districts hiring drivers, the Delaware County Daily Times reported.

The push for more-stringent checks of driver records was a direct response to a Feb. 17 incident where school bus driver Frederick Poust III hit and killed another motorist. He was hired by the district despite a 1999 incident where he struck and killed another motorist while distracted by his mobile phone.

Police in East Earl Township, about an hour's drive west of Philadelphia, have a brand new tool in the fight against drunk driving, as reported by Lancaster Online. East Earl Twp. police chief Kevin McCarthy said his department's new DataMaster DMT is one of only eight in the state.

And after all six of the department's full-time officers were trained through a 32-hour course, each is qualified to operate the high-tech alcohol-sniffing machine:

"We're probably one of the few or only police departments in Pennsylvania that has every full-time officer certified to operate the testing equipment."

So what's the big deal with DataMaster DMT?