The Philadelphia DUI Law Blog

October 2010 Archives

Sean O'Rourke Suspected of Drunk Driving

LancasterOnline.com reported police officers arrested 28-year-old Sean Patrick O'Rourke for suspected drunken driving after the Quakertown man slammed into a parked car along Route 30. No one was injured, but O'Rourke had driven through a hotel's front yard and cut off a utility pole in East Lampeter Township.

Sean O'Rourke told law enforcement he was on his way to Philadelphia, even though he was found heading westbound on the road. Before he knocked off a PPL pole, O'Rourke had crossed the center turn lane and the eastbound traffic lane. Then his vehicle continued towards the Red Carpet Inn's front yard and struck a park auto outside the inn.

DUI Bail And Bonds In Philadelphia

The process where a DUI suspect has been arrested and must pay a fixed amount of money to be released from police custody is referred to as bail. The DUI offender or the person's family may pay the full amount of the bail as arranged by the court. If the suspect is unable to pay bail, he or she can choose to set up a "bond" or written guarantee assuring the person will pay the entire bail amount.

A Philadelphia DUI attorney can explain the specifics behind bails and bonds, but bail is typically set after booking, which is when police record information about the suspect. If bail is available, the suspect must follow certain conditions to be released from police custody after payment. The DUI offender must agree to appear before court for all criminal proceedings, which includes arraignment, a preliminary hearing, pre-trial motions, and trial.

A Closer Look at PA DUI Checkpoints

According to LancasterOnline.com News, it can take an average of 20 law enforcement officers and a horde of volunteers for police like those in Philadelphia to manage a DUI stop. Conducting sobriety checkpoints also involve large costs just to keep the operation running. Often times PA DUI checkpoints don't just involve a simple arrest or charge, and police officers are constantly kept busy and on alert.

In one instance, West Lampeter Township authorities stopped 475 drivers and charged eight people with driving under the influence during a checkpoint held from 10:30 p.m. until the following morning. Police found that one of the people arrested was wanted by Philadelphia police and had seven prior DUI convictions. They also found a semiautomatic handgun in the vehicle of another drunk driving offender. Most drivers who were charged were charged with other offenses like traffic violations.

Sharon Cheeves Arrested for Driving Car into a Crowd

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported 23-year-old Sharon Cheeves allegedly drove her vehicle into a crowd after a North Philly night club denied her entry. Cheeves' car hit six individuals, including Club Motivation owner Kadella Davis. Police officials arrested Cheeves and charged her with murder.

The Bouncers at Club Motivation refused to let Sharon Cheeves and her friend Jesslyn Williams, 22, into the Breakfast club after-hours dance hall because they were drunk and had brought alcohol with them. Both ladies left the scene angry and smashed several car windows as they headed out of the club. Cheeves and Williams boarded into a Chevrolet Monte Carlo while still drunk.

Can Parent-Teen Contracts Make Philly Teens Safer Drivers?

When the legal drinking age was raised to 21, nearly 27,052 lives were saved since 1975. Still, many Philadelphia parents worry about the safety of their children as young drivers, especially with the risks of drunk driving rising in the city. USA Today discusses whether or not parent-teen contracts help make teenagers like those in Philadelphia safer drivers.

Toni and Mike Hafner wanted to set some boundaries for their daughter Chelsea once she got her driver's permit. Using a sample contract provided by their insurer State Farm, the Hafners drafted their own one-and-a-half page contract listing the driving restrictions Chelsea needed to follow. All three agreed to the contract.

Cumberland County Save On Costs And Time With Blood Lab

Weekends keep the Cumberland county prison's booking center in Middlesex Township incredibly busy as 15 to 20 people are brought to the center for driving under the influence. According to Penn Live, 80 percent of all DUI offenses during the week happen on weekends, particularly Friday and Saturday nights.

A central booking center provides Pennsylvania police one place where they can bring in DUI offenders and have them processed swiftly, providing more time for cops to get back on the streets without delay. Blood is needed from a suspect in some DUI cases and can take a while to process, especially when an officer has take the suspect to the hospital to get the blood work done.

Can You Erase a DUI Arrest or Conviction in Philadelphia?

In Philadelphia, the legal record of one's DUI arrest or conviction can be so-called "erased" from the eyes of a law through a court-ordered process known as expungement. The arrest or conviction becomes "sealed," which means the DUI record has limited accessibility unless viewed by certain government agencies or by the person who was arrested or convicted.

A Philadelphia DUI lawyer can provide a detailed explanation on how to get your DUI record expunged in PA, but generally you would have to file a petition to the court that has jurisdiction over your criminal records. Then, that court will have to send a certified order to the agency with control over those records. With a DUI arrest, judges can order an expungement of an individual's record of arrest when they dismiss the charges against the defendant.

Vince Neil Pleads Not Guilty to DUI Charge

According to NBC Philadelphia, Motley Crue singer Vince Neil will go to trial next year after pleading not guilty to a DUI allegation. The singer, who is known for the hit "Girls, Girls, Girls," was caught speeding by law enforcement officials this past June, and authorities said his blood-alcohol-content was well over the .08 legal limit.

Vince Neil, 49, was found driving his Lamborghini at 60 mph in a 45 mph zone near the Las Vegas strip. Police officers gave the rock star three physical sobriety tests to establish whether or not Neil was legally intoxicated, which a PA DUI attorney may consider as a general standard. Authorities in Pennsylvania also administer sobriety tests when a driver is presumably drunk, or at DUI checkpoints.

James Black Pleads Guilty to 2008 DUI Collision

Two years ago, a Pennsylvania resident was accused of driving under the influence in a vehicle collision that resulted in the death of a couple riding a motorcycle. According to the Pocono Record, 37-year-old James Black pleaded guilty to homicide by vehicle and other related offenses because of the crash.

James Black was driving his pickup when he slammed into 45-year-old Patrick Petti and 48-year-old Barbara Warren on their motorcycle on June 2008. Prosecutors said James Black had a blood-alcohol level of almost 0.16 percent at the scene of the car accident, which is twice the 0.08 legal state limit.

Victor Mercadante Drops His Pants After Leaving DUI Scene

Drunk driving incidents are not entirely uncommon. But it's not often you hear of a man, particularly a Pennsylvania resident, who manages to lose his pants in an attempt to escape police in a DUI scenario.

40-year-old Victor Mercadante was driving his white Impala when he left Middletown on a Saturday evening. According to The Daily Delco, the Brookhaven local sped through a stop sign and drove onto Willard Vaughan's lawn, then slammed into a tree and hit the front porch of the 76-year-old's house.

Philadelphia: One of the Cities with Most DUI Offenders

Insurance.com ranked 20 of the largest U.S. metros on which city had the most drunk driving offenders, and Philadelphia made the list. In a previous post, Philly was also recognized as one of the most unsafe driver cities according to Allstate Insurance Co.'s data. Should a PA DUI lawyer expect more drunk driving cases in the upcoming year than in the past?

Philadelphia was ranked No. 16 while San Diego, California, had the largest percentage of drivers with alcohol-related driving convictions. Insurance.com states there are three reasons that may factor into a city's record for DUI convictions. First, a city could generally have more drinkers and partiers than other metros. Second, fewer means of public transportation may result in more intoxicated individuals driving home. Lastly, better enforcement of DUI laws could lead to more DUI convictions.

Kenneth Woods Released After DUI Allegations In Fatal Car Crash

In a fatal collision involving the death of one Villanova student, police released 21-year-old Kenneth Woods, who was initially charged for the crash, and arrested Donnie Sayers, 28. Sayers admitted he was drunk and high on PCP at the time and is now charged with homicide by vehicle, third degree homicide, operating a vehicle while his license was suspended for DUI, and related offenses.

According to the Delaware County Daily Times, investigators believe that Donnie Sayers was really the driver of the stolen Land Range Rover that crashed into the Volkswagen Jetta with the two Villanova students, not Kenneth Woods. Police said fingerprints and a cell phone found in the auto connected Woods to the stolen SUV, but he claimed that he was not in the car.