The Philadelphia DUI Law Blog

June 2012 Archives

Vineland's Anderson Sotomayor Logs His 6th DUI in 5 Weeks

Say you've already got five DUI charges and the New Jersey Legislature is motivated to write a new law because of you. What is the best course of action to take? Lawyer up, you say? Stay home, perhaps?

Ha, Anderson Sotomayor laughs in your face, and throws his beer out the window, according to NBC10. On Thursday night, police pulled Sotomayor over again to find him intoxicated. He was arrested and taken back to jail.

Will they keep him in jail this time?

Stopped for a DUI in Philly? Here's What to Do

So, you're out partying again on a weekend night. You've had one drink and are the designated driver, but there they are, those flashing lights in your rearview and you're being stopped for a DUI.

No one wants a DUI. They take away your driving privileges, can tarnish your driving record for years, increase your insurance premiums, damage a background check and potentially land you in jail if you accidentally hurt someone.

So what do people do when they are pulled over for a DUI?

Off-Duty Trooper Kills Woman in DUI after DUI Victim Memorial

In a biting example of irony, a Pennsylvania state trooper has been charged with DUI homicide by vehicle after being involved in an accident while off-duty on the Pennsylvania Turnpike on May 18th, according to WPVI-TV. Trooper Barry Searfoss had been attending a golf outing in memory of Phebe Blessington, who had been killed by a drunk driver in 1997, according to NBC10.

Searfoss allegedly had a blood alcohol level of  .188, over twice the legal limit of .08, reported NBC10. On the night of the accident, Robin Williams, a North Philadelphia woman, was driving around 11 to 16 miles per hour, likely because of her car breaking down, when Searfoss rear ended her around 71 to 76 miles per hour. The impact caused Williams' car to burst into flames, which killed the 21-year-old.

New PA Law Protects Informants at Underage Drinking Parties

We’ve reported about the social host liability law before and the underage drinking laws, but now there is a new development in these laws that shields an underage drinker that reports an injury at a party, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer. The law is now coming close to its one year birthday as an amendment to the underage drinking statute.

In order to get out the word about this Good Samaritan law, the Montgomery County Youth Advisory Council put together a YouTube video showing how best to use the law, according to the Inquirer. The hope is to reduce the amount of severe injuries and death that might stem from a fear of contacting authorities at a party with underage drinking.

Coach Gives Girl Alcohol, Proves Underage Drinking Doesn't Pay

It was recently discovered that the Hatboro-Horsham High School girl's cross country track coach allegedly gave a girl alcohol on eight separate occasions, according to NBC10. The 24-year-old coach, William Ryan Lichtner, has coached for the past two years in the district.

A 17-year-old student and member of the cross country team reported that Lichtner had been supplying her with alcoholic beverages, according to NBC10. The report led to the investigation and arrest of Lichtner for corruption of minors and furnishing liquor to minors.

This is probably a lucky break for Lichtner, who could have been in hotter water had the student injured herself or others while drinking.

Sotomayor's 5 DUIs Inspires New Jersey Lawmakers

Anderson Sotomayor, a 45-year-old from Vineland, NJ who was arrested 5 times for DUI over a period of 5 weeks has inspired lawmakers to toughen DUI laws, according to the Press of Atlantic City. The most significant change is that certain DUI offenses will now be criminal acts instead of mere vehicle code violations.

Sotomayor was only held in jail because of his 5 DUIs after being stopped the 5th time and admitting to being on Oxycodone without a prescription, according to the Press. The New Jersey legislature has made it clear that they want drivers like Sotomayor off the road, seeing as though Sotomayor’s last arrest was May 16 and identical bills to change the law were introduced on May 31 and June 7 in the Assembly and Senate.

Avoid a DUI With New Uber Car Service and More

Everyone knows the best way to avoid a DUI charge is to not drink. What this doesn’t take into consideration is that you just had a tough week at work, or your new “friend” just told you they need more space, and that beer just sounds too refreshing as the days get hotter.

Now, everyone knows the second best way to avoid that DUI is to not drive. While some people may be lucky to know a pregnant woman that will not drink, or have a teetotaling friend that is not totally annoyed by being around drunk people, there are services that help you get home without sitting in the driver’s seat.

Read on to find out more about these solutions.

An Open Container of What, Officer? What to Do Next in Philly

You're out driving around with your friends and all of a sudden, flashing lights in your rearview. The cop comes up and catches a glimpse of the open bottle of Goose you were bringing to the party. Luckily you hadn't been pre-gaming, but the cop still is giving you a hard time.

Or you're out with friends, walking around the city, with your road soda, and the cops come sniff your cup. Again, no driving, no slurring, no ruckus, but the law is coming down on you.

These situations are all because of Pennsylvania and Philadelphia's open container laws.

Is That the Wrong Couch? Man Wakes Up 25 Miles Away

Lee A. Schuster was recently arrested when police woke him from his drunken slumber on the wrong couch of the wrong home in a western New York town, according to the Associated Press. The AP goes on to report that the man thought he was on his friend's couch in a town 25 miles away.

Schuster, 20, was "highly intoxicated" when police roused him, The Buffalo News reports. Schuster was free to go, but was given an appearance ticket for Newstead Town Court, according to the AP. This is surprising considering the factors of Schuster's condition.

He probably would have been treated a little differently here in Philly.

Upper Darby Hit and Run Likely Caused by Driving on Heroin

WPVI-TV reports that Sukhjimder Singh was arrested for the Upper Darby hit and run of an 8-year-old girl that occurred on June 7th. The girl was on her pink and blue bicycle when she was hit around 5:30 p.m.

According to CBS Philly, Singh stopped after the collision, saw witnesses and tore off, blowing through multiple red lights before being stopped by an officer that witnessed the event. After police stopped Singh, they found plastic baggies in his car that contained heroin residue, according to CBS Philly.

And you thought DUI only meant drinking and driving.

Amanda Bynes DUI: Asks President Obama For Help

According to the Huffington Post, Amanda Bynes has been charged with a DUI after her early April DUI arrest. After scraping a police car with her vehicle, she refused to take a sobriety test, according to

Now Bynes is requesting, via Twitter, the President of the United States of America, Barack Obama to "fire the cop who arrested me," according to Huff Post. She should probably prepare to defend her case before asking the President to commute a misdemeanor DUI charge.

Man Gets Lucky: Ben Franklin Bridge Death Not Fault of DUI

Over the first weekend of June, a van was hit on the Ben Franklin Bridge by a 19-year-old driving a Mazda under the influence of alcohol, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. The van had broken down while crossing the bridge and the driver of the Mazda rear ended it at speed, causing five people to go to the hospital with injuries. One man in the van died of a heart attack.

At the time of the accident, it was thought that the man had died because of the accident, reports the Courier-Post. However, after the medical examiner's report was released, it was discovered that the man had died prior to the accident, according to the Inquirer. While that helps keep the driver out of extreme trouble, he still has some DUI issues to deal with.

Philly Beer Week: Watch Out for Those BUIs

It is time for the third annual Philly Beer Week, which as the name might hint at, is for drinking delicious beer. The event runs from June 1 until June 10 this year, with venues all over the city.

The Daily News’s “Joe Sixpack” reports that there will be over 2,000 brands of beer to try. He recommends Allagash’s Yazuka, a rare beer from Portland, Maine, and Boxcar’s Mango Ginger IPA, from West Chester, among others.

If you do head out to try the beers, you know well enough to have a designated driver, or to take your bike, right? Perhaps you should take SEPTA instead after you read this.