Hand Holding Small Marijuana Leaf with Indoor Cannabis Plants in Background

National Cannabis Awareness Month: DUIs and Weed

April is National Cannabis Awareness Month. Like with other awareness months, this one aims to bring facts about the plant to light. While those who support the use of marijuana for recreational and medicinal use want people to know that the drug is a safe and useful one, those opposed to its recreational use want people to be aware of its potential dangers.

According to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the number of drivers who admit to driving while stoned has grown by 50 percent since a survey taken in 2007. At that time, the number of drivers who admitted to driving after smoking marijuana was 8.6 percent. That number rose to 12.6 percent in 2014 and is expected to be higher today.

Drivers who tested positive for some type of substance that would impair driving was 22 percent in 2014. Those substances include both legal and illegal drugs and medications.Read More

young female driver being subject to test for alcohol content with use of breathalyzer

What Causes False Positives for Breathalyzers?

Many people have heard of the strange things people try to do to defeat breathalyzer tests. From putting a penny in your mouth to chewing gum, very few things, if any, will show that you are sober when you aren’t. There are things, however, that can cause a false positive, and people need to be aware of them.

1. Mouthwash

Mouthwash has been said to throw off the reading of a breathalyzer test. Unfortunately, swigging mouthwash can skew the results in favor of the arresting officer. Mouthwash has a high alcohol content and can cause you to blow in such a way that you appear intoxicated, or more intoxicated than you are.

2. Vaping

Thousands of people have turned to vaping as an alternative to smoking traditional cigarettes. If you are hooked on an electronic cigarette, you may want to keep it tucked in your pocket if you have been out drinking.Read More

Upset male driver is caught driving under alcohol influence

What to Do if You Got Busted for DUI on St. Patrick’s Day

Did you go out with the thousands of others in Philadelphia on St. Patrick’s Day? If you were one of the lucky ones, you made it home without incident. If you weren’t, you found yourself busted for driving under the influence. There were undoubtedly a million thoughts running through your head once you were able to get home and now that you are safely sitting on your own couch, you are wondering what to do next. Here are five things you can do right now.

1. Take Notes

Write down everything that you remember; details are important in a DUI case. What time were you pulled over? Where were you stopped? Write down what the officer asked and how you replied. Make note of any tests that you were administered. Don’t share your notes with anyone but the attorney you hire.

2. Go Private

Deleting information from your social media accounts can result in a tampering with evidence charge in some cases.Read More

Close up of a yellow pencil erasing the words, 'The Past' from old, yellowed paper

3 Reasons to Get a DUI Expunged

 

Too often, Pennsylvanians simply accept their “fate” if they were arrested for a DUI. Not seeing a way out, they plead guilty in hopes of a lighter sentence. Or, they were represented by a shoddy attorney who had no business representing any defendant in court. Regardless of how it happened, that DUI conviction is now on your record. It can stay with you for a lifetime — unless you take action.

Though it is difficult, there are ways to get your DUI expunged from your record in Pennsylvania. If you qualify for expungement, you may be wondering if it’s worth the hassle. The answer is: definitely, and unequivocally, yes! The process of expungement can be lengthy and tedious, but it is well worth it. Here are just three reasons why you should get a DUI expunged from your record:

1. Your Money Matters

After you got your license back, chances are you had to fill out an SR-22 in order to get insurance.Read More

American DUI Checkpoint Highway Road Sign, Red, White and Blue American Highway Sign with words DUI Checkpoint with stormy sky background

What Is the “Ziploc Defense”?

Over the past couple years, a video has surfaced over and over of a man in Florida coming up to a DUI checkpoint, then presenting his license, insurance card and registration in a resealable plastic bag. Also in the bag is a card that states, “I remain silent. No searches. I want my lawyer. Please put any tickets under windshield wiper.” In the video (which has since been removed from YouTube), he seems to get through the checkpoint just fine.

Though the original video is gone, the man responsible, an attorney named Warren Redlich, is encouraging others to use his Fair DUI Flyer. While this seems like a great plan, is it really the get-out-of-jail-free card Redlich says it is? Further, would such a card work for a Pennsylvania DUI checkpoint?

Your Constitutional Rights

DUI checkpoints are set up every now and again by state and local police to catch drunk drivers.Read More

How to Talk to Your Children about Drinking and Driving

One of the most exciting aspects of being a teenager in Pennsylvania is finally getting a driver’s license. No longer is your teen reliant on you to get them around. They now have more freedom to drive themselves to school and work. However, they may also decide to drive to social functions and parties as well. If these parties will have alcohol, there is a risk of your teen being pressured into drinking — and then driving.

As much as we would like to assure ourselves that our kids would never drink, much less drive drunk, the fact of the matter is that sometimes, things just happen. Being prepared for such a situation, and knowing what to do if your teen is ever in a situation where they may be drinking and driving, can save lives.

1. Set Clear Rules

When your teenager gets their license, set strict ground rules for drinking.Read More

Teenage Boys Drinking Beer

Booze and Minors at a Party? Don’t Risk It

After a long week of work, few things take the edge off like throwing back a few brews with the gang. Going out to bars can get expensive quickly, so why not just party at someone’s house? After all, if everyone gets too drunk to drive a car, they can just crash on the couches and floor. Really, everyone wins.

But what happens if a minor shows up to the party? In general, you’re still in the clear. You and your friends over 21 can continue to pound back the beers, while your 20-year-old coworker nurses root beer instead. While it may be tempting to think, “He’s close enough to 21. Give him a drink!” doing so is downright illegal.

Minors Drinking at Home

In some states, minors may drink at home (and even in some establishments) if they have parental consent and supervision. However, Pennsylvania is not one of these states.Read More

Variety of medicines and drugs

Common Medicines and DUI

When you think of a driving under the influence charge, chances are that alcohol is foremost in your mind. The truth is that people can be charged for driving under the influence when they have any substance in their system that impairs their ability to drive — including over-the-counter and prescription medications.

When an officer charges someone with DUI, they only need to prove that you were in control of a vehicle and that your ability to drive was impaired by some substance. For example:

You have been fighting a terrible cough for weeks and finally decide to take over-the-counter cold medicine. The medicine includes a warning on the label that consumers should not drive after taking it because it can cause drowsiness. You take the medicine before work because you don’t want to spend the day coughing, and you get in your car to head to work.

While driving, you begin to feel drowsy and weave in and out of your lane in front of a police officer.Read More

Female hand rejecting glass with alcoholic beverage on blurred background

Understanding Pennsylvania’s Dram Law

Under a Pennsylvania law called the Dram Shop law, any person or business who provides alcohol to a person who is visibly intoxicated is held legally responsible for any injury or damage that person may cause. The law applies to bars and other drinking establishments, and it also applies to private individuals who are hosting an event.

The dram law comes into effect in court most typically when an intoxicated person causes a vehicle collision or other kind of injury. The person or business who provided the person with alcohol is normally part of a larger lawsuit filed by the victim or victims against the at-fault driver. It’s important to understand, however, that this isn’t the only time this law may be put into effect. For example:

You know that your friend is drunk and beginning to lose control of their inhibitions. You continue to provide alcohol to your friend, they walk out of your house and start a fight with someone else in your driveway.Read More