The Philadelphia DUI Law Blog

Deer Stops DUI; Pothead Almost Hits Cop

Two interesting driving under the influence cases cases were reported yesterday in the Philadelphia Inquirer.

In the first, an allegedly-inebriated David Noonan, 31, swerved to avoid t-boning Bambi. When police arrived to investigate the crash, they discovered apparent signs of intoxication. They administered field sobriety tests, and then escorted the driver to obtain a blood sample for measuring blood alcohol content. There is no word on the condition of the deer.

In a second DUI case, a police officer heard a crash while on patrol. A 17-year-old, allegedly under the influence, swerved off the road, hit a sign, returned to the road, and almost hit the cop's car. Needless to say, the cop stopped the young man and investigated.

The officer searched the car after detecting the smell of marijuana. No surprise, he found a bag of weed and a pipe.

The driver was arrested, and his blood was drawn for testing before he was released to his parents. Charges have been filed in the juvenile system.

In Pennsylvania, implied consent laws apply to drivers. This means that if an officer reasonably suspects that you are driving under the influence, he can require you to take either a Breathalyzer or blood test in order to determine your BAC. The choice is usually the driver's, but if one test is unavailable or malfunctioning, the other must be taken.

Driving under the influence of marijuana or other drugs (DUID) is also illegal under Pennsylvania state law. In the 17-year-old's case, a blood test can detect how much, if any, marijuana was in the driver's system; evidence of the teen's crash into the sidewalk and close encounter with a cop car will help prove the state's case.

Under an April 2011 amendment, an amount as small as 1ng/ml of a metabolite of THC, the active hallucinogen in marijuana, is enough to show that someone is under the influence of drugs. These metabolites stay in your system long after you have ingested marijuana. The driver's impaired driving can also prove DUID. In addition, if this juvenile offender had any alcohol whatsoever in his blood, he can be found guilty of a traditional DUI, as the legal limit for minors is 0.00.

DUIs and DUIDs are serious problems. For the sake of yourself, other drivers, pedestrians, and deer, please do not drive drunk. And if you been arrested for driving under the influence, contact a Pennsylvania defense attorney to evaluate your options.

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