The Philadelphia DUI Law Blog

March 2011 Archives

DUI Treatment Courts In PA Help Rehabilitate Offenders

Many local governments in Pennsylvania are exploring alternatives to imprisonment for DUI offenders, considering the state’s prisons, including those in Philadelphia, are filled with over 51,000 people. Lycoming County, for instance, introduced an Adult Treatment Court in 1998 and expanded the program to create a DUI Treatment Court in 2005.

According to the Williamsport-Sun Gazette, Maryland’s Glacier Consulting evaluated the two programs in Lycoming for two years and found that they saved the county more than $24 million since the time they began. The company also noted that the programs were successful in retaining participants and reducing the number of people committing new offenses.

Philadelphia DA's Office Plans To Review Over 1,000 DUI Cases

District Attorney Seth Williams has announced that he will perform a comprehensive review of all DUI cases from the last 15 months after police officials in Philadelphia reported that miscalibrated breathalyzers may have jeopardized 1,147 of those cases. While police said the inaccurate breathalyzers may have only affected 400 people, Williams contended that a full review was still necessary.

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Assistant District Attorney Lynn Nichols will be leading a team of prosecutors and other staff who will assess the cases that were handled between September 2009 and November 2010. But because Philly police file almost 8,000 to 10,000 DUI cases a year, the review by William's office could likely take a several months to complete.

Notre Dame WR Michael Floyd Gets Charged With Second DUI

Philadelphia college football fans may have heard that Michael Floyd, one of Notre Dame’s top wide receivers, was recently charged with DUI after a breathalyzer test revealed that the player had a blood-alcohol content (BAC) level that was double Indiana’s legal limit of 0.08 percent.

According to the Philadelphia Daily News, St. Joseph County deputy prosecutor Chris Daniels stated that campus police had pulled Floyd over after he ran a stop sign nearly one block away from Notre Dame’s main entrance. Authorities said the football star, who was driving a white Cadillac at the time of arrest, failed three field sobriety tests and had a BAC level of 0.19 percent.

BeMyDD Offers Designated Drivers To Help Limit Drunk Driving

Some Philadelphia residents may choose to grab a taxi in the event they are drunk and without a designated driver, but business partners Arthur Simanovsky and Alexa Milkovich have developed an innovative designated driver service that has expanded in 21 cities across the country and aims to keep drunk drivers off the road.

According to Family Car Guide, Simanovsky and Milkovich have created a chauffeur service in Cleveland known as Be My Designated Driver, or BeMyDD. The operation differs from a taxi service in that it functions more similarly to a chauffeur-driven limousine, which usually takes people to and from particular celebrations, like a high school prom or a wedding.

Brian Mussaw Arrested After Stealing Truck And Driving Drunk

New York local Brian Mussaw, 28, was recently arrested after allegedly driving a stolen truck drunk at the Philadelphia International Airport and onto Interstate 95. Authorities reported that Mussaw was apparently so eager to get drunk and celebrate St. Patrick’s Day this week that he decided to start partaking in the festivities a day early.

Police said Mussaw had been outside the baggage-claim area at the airport when he decided to sneak into the passenger’s door of a Ford F-350 that had a snowplow attached to it. An airport employee had left the automobile running after stepping out to check on a terminal door, according to the Philadelphia Daily News.

BoltBus Driver Elia Rodriguez Arrested For Allegedly Driving Drunk

As some Philadelphia locals may have heard, authorities arrested BoltBus driver Elia Rodriguez on the New Jersey Turnpike for allegedly driving drunk. MyFoxNY reported that a worried passenger on the bus, which was traveling to Washington D.C. from New York at the time, had called 911 when she suspected Rodriguez was intoxicated behind the wheel.

New Jersey State Police said Rodriguez, 46, was driving erratically while heading south on the turnpike in Camden County, according to NBC Philadelphia. A state trooper said he was also traveling nearly 80 mph and illegally drove onto the left lane while trying to change lanes. MyFoxNY wrote that after police pulled Rodriquez over, they discovered an open container of alcohol in the driver's section of the bus.

Were 200 DUI Suspects Wrongly Convicted Due to Bad Breathalyzer?

While the accuracy of breathalyzer tests has often been disputed in courts, they are still required in determining whether or not a DUI driver was intoxicated while behind the wheel at the scene of an arrest. But according to My Fox Philly, hundreds of DUI convictions in Philadelphia could be dismissed due to a breathalyzer that was calibrated incorrectly.

Officials reported that one breathalyzer read incorrect blood-alcohol content (BAC) levels for drivers who received a conviction for drunk driving. The problem may potentially affect almost 200 convictions, in which the Philadelphia District Attorney’s office has decided to offer new trials to those who may have been wrongly convicted because of breathalyzers that had equipment that was improperly put together.

PA Police Schedule DUI Checkpoints For St. Patrick's Day

As St. Patrick's Day approaches, many local police agencies will be enforcing impaired-driving regulations throughout southeast Pennsylvania, including Philadelphia. Federal funding has been distributed through the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) to help reduce the number of DUI-related crashes and drunk drivers on the road.

Statistics from PennDOT revealed 26 impaired-driving car crashes and one related death occurred statewide last year during St. Patrick's Day, according to Patch. This year, it falls on Thursday, March 17, and some DUI enforcement will be conducted before and after the holiday in areas including:

DUI Sentencing Alternative For First Time Offenders: ARD

While some Philadelphians might mistakenly classify a DUI charge or conviction as something relatively minor, many people may not realize that a DUI-related offense can actually have an immensely negative impact on an individual’s reputation and current or future employment.

Even first time DUI convictions in Philadelphia and the rest of Pennsylvania can lead to severe punishment depending on the person’s level of impairment. These penalties can include probation, significant fines, a revoked driver’s license, DUI school, and prison time. But according to PR-USA, some first-time offenders may be eligible for a sentencing alternative or special diversion program known as the Accelerated Rehabilitation Disposition (ARD) program.

Michael Hershey Charged With DUI After Turning Himself In To Police

Car salesman Michael Donald Hershey, 48, recently turned himself in to Lancaster County police after he was accused of being drunk while test driving a car with two customers in December. The incident led to car crash that killed 48-year-old Jon Christian "Chris" Jensen from Leola and caused injuries to his son, Tyler Jensen.

According to the Philadelphia Daily News, the Jensens had gone to the Imports of Lancaster County to take a look at some sports cars and eventually agreed to take a Mitsubishi Lancer for a test drive with Hershey. Tyler had initially been behind the wheel until Hershey told him to pull the car over in East Hempfield Township.

Erin Miller Loses Bail After Judge Discovers New DUI Charges

Spring City local Erin N. Miller had initially been released on bail pending a sentence decision for her role in a DUI-related car accident in Limerick that led to the death of her boyfriend, Brian H. Cutillo. She had been charged with aggravated assault by vehicle while driving under the influence of alcohol for the November 2009 crash.

But according to The Mercury, Miller’s bail was quickly revoked when defense attorney Martin P. Mullaney told Montgomery County Judge A. Smyth that his client had been arrested for another drunk driving accident last month while she was free on bail.

Indians Discover Austin Kearns' DUI Arrest In Kentucky

Some Philadelphians may have recently heard that Austin Kearns, the Cleveland Indians' outfielder, was arrested in Kentucky last month for allegedly driving drunk. The Associated Press reported the team had been unaware that the baseball star was even arrested until it was reported in Kentucky's Jessamine Journal.

Kearns, 30, said he did not inform the Indians earlier on about his DUI arrest because of some "advice that I was given." But once the incident was publicized, he met with general manager Chris Antonetti and manager Manny Acta to discuss the issue. "They know what's going on and we'll go from there," said Kearns.

Samantha Pond Arrested For Possible DUI In Fatal Crash

Authorities identified 21-year-old Melissa Lees from Fishtown and 22-year-old Caitlin Hennessey from Upper Moreland Township as the victims in the SUV who were killed in recent fatal car accident that occurred in Philadelphia's Somerton neighborhood.

Samantha Pond, 20, was driving the SUV and suffered some injuries. According to NBC Philadelphia, she was taken to the Frankford-Torresdale Hospital and police later arrested her due to the suspicion that she may have been inebriated at the time of the accident. However, no charges have yet been filed against Pond because of a pending toxicology test.