Man hand drinking beer and holding car keys

How DUI Convictions Travel from State to State

So maybe you’re driving through another state for your holiday vacation and make a couple of choices you maybe shouldn’t have. As a result of those choices, you find yourself pulled over and arrested for driving under the influence. No big deal, right? After all, once you handle your business in that state, you are going home to live your life.

Not so fast.

People who get caught driving impaired in one state may not get off as easy as they think. The truth of the matter is that you may be dealing with not only the consequences in the state in which you were arrested, but in the state you live in as well. The reason for this sort of “double” punishment is what is known as consortium.

What Information Is Shared?

Most of the 50 states are part of a DUI information consortium. The good news is that while these states share information, the only information shared is of convictions, not arrests.Read More

Young handsome man passed out on sofa with pizza slice and beer can in his hand in messy room after party

The Levels of Intoxication

Most people are aware that alcohol affects everyone differently. We all have that friend that brags that they can “drink anyone under the table,” and they are right. They seem to be able to consume drink after drink without becoming sloppy drunk, while another friend has two drinks and is stumbling for the door.

While this is certainly an example, it is not the rule. People behave in a general way depending on their level of intoxication, giving law enforcement and medical professionals a good idea of just how drunk someone may be. Here are the levels of intoxication, beginning with the level at which it is illegal to drive, and how a typical person may behave:

0.08 – 0.09 Blood Alcohol Content (BAC): The person is slightly impaired. They have some difficulty maintaining their balance, their reaction time is slowed, and their vision and speech are no longer typical.Read More

close up of male friends drinking and clinking beer bottles at home

The Effects of Alcohol On a Teenage Mind

The adolescent brain is not a mature one. There is a reason that teenagers behave the way that they do, and it is because their brains are still developing. In fact, the human brain continues to develop into the mid 20s. The changing brain affects all aspects of a teenager’s behavior, from emotional intelligence to good judgment.

Teenagers, due to their developing brains, cannot handle alcohol in the same way an adult can. Not only can teenagers not handle alcohol appropriately, but alcohol can have a very real impact on the brain itself. Here is how alcohol affects the different areas of the teenage brain.

Cerebral Cortex

The cerebral cortex takes information from a person’s senses and interprets it appropriately. Alcohol slows down this interpretation. This means that a teenager may see a person in the road, for instance, and fail to brake in time because the brain is not able to quickly take that vision and process it as a hazard.Read More

Women taking pills inside her car while driving

DUI Versus DUI-Drugs In Pennsylvania

When you are charged with driving under the influence in Pennsylvania, you face stiff penalties. Even if the DUI is your first, you could be facing jail time, fines and court costs. While it’s true that many judges will take it a bit easier on someone without a criminal history, being arrested for DUI should not be taken lightly.

Driving under the influence, unlike what many people believe, does not strictly pertain to alcohol. A person can be charged with DUI if a law enforcement officer believes that the person is under the influence of any substance that has impaired the person’s ability to drive safely. That means that a person can be arrested for DUI if the office believes the person is under the influence of illegal or prescription drugs.

When the operator of a vehicle is charged with driving under the influence of drugs, or DUI-D, they are facing very serious consequences.Read More

Judge hitting gavel with paper at wooden table closeup

Should I Argue for a Better Plea Bargain?

Whether you watch crime dramas on television or have experience within the criminal justice system, chances are that you know at least something about plea bargains. A plea bargain is widely accepted as a way of avoiding harsher penalties after being accused of a crime. Even innocent people accept plea bargains as a way to quicken the pace of the criminal trial process and, at time, stay out of prison.

If you have been charged with a DUI, you may not want to face the uncertainty of a trial. That said, a plea bargain isn’t in your best interest if you don’t have a strong attorney arguing on your behalf. While some plea bargains will benefit the accused, some can make things worse. Here’s a brief rundown on what you should know.

Should I Accept the Standard Deal?

In many court systems throughout the country, there are what are known as standardized plea deals.Read More

Human arm with vial of drug with syringe in color

New York Opens Opiate Court

It’s no secret that the opioid addiction problem in the United States has reached epidemic proportions. The topic is in the news almost daily. Lawmakers and those who are tasked with enforcing the law are beginning to realize that the current problem cannot be dealt with like those in the past. Fines and incarceration are not going to cure the issue and people are looking for alternatives.

Several jurisdictions across the country have specialized drug courts. The state of New York took things to a new level last month when it instituted the country’s first opiate court. The court’s aim is to help offenders find treatment rather than lock them away.

Care Replaces Confinement

This first opiate court opened its doors on May 1 in Buffalo. Anyone who was arrested in the city was screened and those who tested positive were directed towards treatment. Their criminal cases were put on the back burner.Read More

Law concept, gavel, scale and books

Judge Heading to First-Time Offenders Program

A magistrate in Pennsylvania is accused of drunk driving and plans to apply for the state’s program for first-time offenders. According to reports, the 29-year-old district judge will apply to the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition program. The program gives first-time offenders the chance to avoid jail time and have their records wiped clear of the DUI charges.

The Program’s Purpose

People make mistakes and many believe that a single bad decision should not ruin a person’s life. Such is the purpose of the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition program. When an offender successfully completes the program, they avoid jail and are given the opportunity to clear their record of the current charges. The program not only works to benefit the offender, but the already overloaded dockets as well. When a person applies to and is accepted in the program, they avoid trials and other court proceedings.

Admission Into the Program

Admission into the program is not guaranteed.Read More

Golf club and golf ball close up in grass field with sunset

What We Learn from Tiger Woods’ DUI

Tiger Woods typically makes the news because of his play on the green. This time, he’s made headlines due to choices he made before getting behind the wheel of his vehicle. Last month, Woods was arrested and charged with being under the influence of prescription drugs while sleeping behind the wheel.

According to reports, officers located Woods stopped in the right lane of a street, car running, flat tires and other damage, and Woods was sleeping. When officers woke him up, Woods did not know where he was. He was asked to perform field sobriety tests and he refused. Officers administered a breathalyzer and results showed that the pro golfer had no alcohol in his system.

While Woods’ arrest is disheartening to his fans and others, there are three lessons that we can all learn.

1. Driving Under the Influence Doesn’t Always Mean “Drunk”

There are laws in the books in every state against drugged driving.Read More

man holding hashish in the car

Drug DUIs on the Rise in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania saw 53,000 DUI arrests in 2016. Half of those, according to AAA, involved drugs or a combination of drugs and alcohol. Many of the cases of drugged driving involve prescription medications and not illegal narcotics. Drugged driving is on the rise in Pennsylvania, and law enforcement officials are being put through training to detect it.

Officers are being taught how to look for and notice signs of impairment. Alcohol impairment is one thing and, for most officers, easily recognizable. In addition, testing someone for alcohol use is fairly straightforward and quick. The same cannot be said for recognizing and testing for prescription medications or other drugs.

Drug Recognition Expert Coordinator for the Pennsylvania State Police, Cpl. Scott Davis, worries that drugged driving will continue to get worse as marijuana becomes a legal substance in more states. The Pennsylvania DUI Association agrees. They support the training that the law enforcement officers are taking on.Read More

american flag waving in the wind

Stay Safe This Memorial Day Weekend

Memorial Day weekend is the start of the summer season, even though summer doesn’t officially start for a few more weeks. According to the National Safety Council, the weekend can be a deadly one for those on the road. Using statistics, members of the Council estimate that there will be 40,000 injuries and over 380 deaths over the weekend. You can do your part by making sure that you, your friends and family are practicing safety.

Drinking

For some, alcohol is a part of barbecues and other cookouts. If you are of legal age, there is nothing wrong with consuming a beverage or two. The problem stems from overconsumption. It is also risky to combine alcohol and other activities such as grilling, swimming and driving.

Do not consume alcohol in excess. This is especially true if you are going to be outdoors in the sun. The sun and heat will exacerbate the effects of alcohol and you will dehydrate more quickly.Read More