How a DUI Case Makes its Way Through the Pennsylvania Court System feature image

How a Pennsylvania DUI Goes Through the Court System

It is stressful when you are forced to deal with the unknown. Being charged with DUI for the first time means that you will be facing several unknowns. You not only have to deal with the anxiety of being charged with a crime, but the upcoming court process. While a DUI is certainly a serious charge, it may help to ease your fears by knowing what you are about to go through.

The court process for anyone charged with a DUI in Pennsylvania follows a typical set of steps. Your path may differ from the norm, of course, but there are certain things you can reasonably expect to happen.

1. Charges

The very first thing to happen is the traffic stop. You may have already gone through this or know someone who has. A police officer pulls you over, you are asked to submit to a set of tests and placed under arrest.Read More

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How Long Does a DUI in Pennsylvania Stay on My Record?

Being charged with driving under the influence in Pennsylvania can potentially ruin your life. It will show up on any background check for loan approvals, rental agreements and job searches. You may not be able to drive for a while, and you may be forced to install an ignition interlock device into your car. The worst news is that DUI’s almost never come off your record.

In Pennsylvania, a DUI conviction will almost always stay on your record forever. No matter where you go in the United States, your DUI will follow you, thanks to the National Driving Registry. This system notifies any department of driver services that you have a suspended license and/or that you have a DUI on your record. Dealing with this hassle is just one of the many consequences of drunk driving. However, it may be possible to have your conviction stricken from your record.

Pennsylvania’s DUI Punishments

Getting a DUI for the first time in Pennsylvania carries much less severe consequences than it does in other states.Read More

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Penalties for 1st, 2nd and 3rd DUI in Pennsylvania

Everyone can make mistakes, but in the eyes of the law, driving under the influence cannot be dismissed with a simple slap on the wrist. Therefore, many states, including Pennsylvania, have come up with harsh ways to punish those convicted of DUI. These states hope that their harsh punishments will deter others from making the same decisions.

While the punishments for a first offense can be deemed somewhat extreme, the laws for subsequent convictions give more severe consequences. These laws are in place to keep people from becoming repeat offenders.

While these laws are meant to protect people, they can be exercised overzealously by prosecutors and judges. Certain people, some who are facing unfair charges or did not receive due process, may be treated in the same manner as those who have clearly committed an infraction. No matter the reason for your arrest, you have the right to hire an experienced Pennsylvania DUI attorney to defend your rights.Read More

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Refusal of a Chemical Test in Pennsylvania

When you put your signature on your Pennsylvania driver’s license, you are giving implied consent. This means you are stating you will submit to a chemical test should you ever be pulled over for suspicion of driving under the influence. If you refuse to take a breath test or will not submit a blood or urine sample for analysis, you are subject to other charges and potential penalties, if convicted.

Operation Versus Physical Control

Within the state, operation and physical control of a vehicle are different, but not necessarily in the eyes of the law. The way the DUI statute is written, you only need to be able to make the vehicle move in order to be charged with the offense.

For example: You realize you have had too much to drink and don’t believe that it is safe to continue driving. You do the right thing and pull into a shopping center’s parking lot to wait until you believe you are sober enough to drive.Read More

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Don’t Get a DUI On Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day may not be on your radar just yet, but it’s only a few weeks away. If you want to impress your partner with your forethought and ability to plan an amazing night out, you really should start thinking about making plans.

Whether you decide on an intimate dinner for two or a loud, raucous night on the town, one thing that surely won’t impress your significant other is your earning a driving under the influence charge. There is no quicker way to ruin your night than being pulled over — and possibly arrested — by the police. The good news is that you can avoid it. Here’s how:

1. Stay In

Who says you have to make a big splash in downtown Philly for the evening? It may be far more romantic to cook a dinner for two at home, share a bottle of wine and settle in for a great movie.Read More

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How the Federal Decision About Marijuana Affects You

A memo from the Obama-era administration outlined a hands-off approach when it came to dealing with legalized marijuana programs within different states. In other words, federal agencies were not forbidden to, but discouraged from, pursuing certain charges against people who possessed, used or cultivated marijuana in these states as long as they were following state law.

Attorney Jeff Sessions recently made a decision to rescind that protection and it could affect people in Pennsylvania, California, Colorado and several other states.

How This Could Affect Pennsylvanians

Medical marijuana was only recently made legal in Pennsylvania. Under the current program in the state, people with one or more of 17 qualifying conditions may be prescribed marijuana in oil, pill or ointment form. While the program is not yet in full implementation, it has taken numerous steps in getting there. Pennsylvania has set up temporary regulations, issued permits for dispensaries and growers, launched a practitioner registry and registered patients.Read More

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How to Keep Your New Year’s Resolution to Reduce Drinking

The New Year has begun and you made a decision to start it off right. You’ve made a resolution to stop drinking. Whether you’ve done it because you were drinking a bit too much or simply to become a healthier version of you, it’s a resolution that can be hard to stick with. Here are some tips to help you out.

1. Dry January

Participate in dry January. Giving yourself a goal of not drinking for 30 days is far more attainable than saying you won’t drink forever. Once you hit the 30 day mark, studies show that you have developed new habits and will find it easier to say no to a drink in the future.

Even if you find yourself accepting a drink and falling off the wagon so-to-speak, you can get right back on. Don’t think of yourself as a failure because you didn’t make it to 30 days.Read More

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Alternatives to Driving Drunk After Playoff Football Games

It’s a historic time if your live in Pennsylvania. Both the Philadelphia Eagles and the Pittsburgh Steelers are in the NFL playoffs. Who will you be rooting for? We know who we will be cheering on, but we still wish your team well!

If you’re going to be out watching the big game, you may have a few alcoholic beverages. There’s nothing wrong with that, provided you are legally permitted to drink but there could be something very wrong with choosing to drive home. If you consume adult beverages and get behind the wheel, you could make it home safely. Then again, you could find yourself dealing with a DUI or, worse, with the knowledge that you have injured or killed someone.

You don’t have to stage your own prohibition on game day. You also don’t have to drive. You can easily enjoy yourself and stay safe at the same time.Read More

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How a Ruling in Arizona Could Impact Medical Marijuana DUIs in Pennsylvania

A recent ruling in Arizona could impact the way that marijuana DUI cases are handled in Pennsylvania and throughout the country. According to the State Court of Appeals, a person who uses medical marijuana cannot be convicted of driving while impaired if there is no proof that the driver was, in fact, impaired.

It is thought to be a setback for prosecutors in the state where there is no law that determines just how much THC a person must have in their system to be considered impaired. An appellate judge, Diane Johnsen, wrote in her opinion, “And, according to evidence here, there is no scientific consensus about the concentration of THC that generally is sufficient to impair a human being.” In other words, there is no set level at which every person is too impaired by marijuana to drive a vehicle.

Previous Rulings in Arizona

In 2010, voters in Arizona approved a legislation that a legal user of marijuana could not be excused from driving under the influence simply because they hold a prescription for the drug.Read More

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Can Police Give Me a DUI If I’m In My Driveway?

You’ve been out for a night on the town. You made the decision to drive yourself home. You’ve made it to your driveway and see a police car blocking your way out with its lights flashing. Your stomach drops but then you remember… you’re at home. There’s no way you can be in trouble now. Or can you?

Many people are under the mistaken belief that they can’t be charged for driving under the influence when they are in their own driveways. That may not necessarily be the case. Even if you are on your own property, you may be charged with driving under the influence. Let’s take a look at a recent case that made its way to the Michigan Supreme Court.

The Definition of “Driveway”

In this case, a man in Michigan was charged with driving under the influence after an officer, responding to a noise complaint, saw the man back out of his garage and then back in once he noticed the officer.Read More