Month: November 2013

Underage Fraternity Drinking Causes Death

Credit: Ed KohlerOne of the best ways to cut down on DUI accidents is to stop underage drinking. Unfortunately, college is a place where a lot of teens get free access to alcohol, but it’s’ still the responsibility of the individual to resist. Not all crimes involving underage drinking are so cut and dried, even if there is a fatality involved. Consider the case of Jason Aaron, a former chapter president and Matthew Siracusa, a former pledge master of a University of Delaware fraternity, Sigma Alpha Mu in a liability case involving the death of an 18-year-old pledge in 2008.

A number of factors came into play in to the alcohol death of this young man who had a BAC level several times that for a drunken driving charge. Fortunately he never got behind the wheel and harmed someone else, but for whatever reason he drank himself to death. Let’s be honest, in a university setting underage drinking is going to happen, no matter what laws are passed to try to prevent it.… Read More

Are Public Officials Tried Early in the Media?

It has become an increasing trend lately to try public officials who have made mistakes in the past in the media. Such is the case of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford. Even when Mayor Rob Ford did admit to having bought illegal drugs while in office, colleagues nearly unanimously were encouraging him to step down from office.

Is it malicious politics or is it something else that motivates Mayor Ford’s colleagues and fellow Council members? It’s hard to say. Ford’s motion directing that every single council members to undergo hair analysis testing for drugs and alcohol rather than his naming names and similarly shaming some of them was deemed as being out of order.

An admission of having made a mistake does not necessarily make anyone an habitual criminal. Everyone is constitutionally guaranteed a trial by a jury of their peers. Even if you are accused of a crime and the media is trying to get the most sensational angle and try you in the spotlight, public opinion has nothing to do with guilt or innocence.… Read More

Give them enough rope…

Credit: Bernt RostadAs a DUI lawyer, we have to deal with quite a number of “crazy” cases. There are many ways to question a DUI charge, but sometimes a person’s actions can hand evidence right to the police that’s difficult to beat.  Consider the following case.

The Easton police pulled over someone that they suspected was DUI. The 30-year-old woman was tested and brought into the station. How she was tested is uncertain, as the news story doesn’t go into details. Most likely it was by the officer’s opinion and a field sobriety test since there were no BAC numbers reported.

The suspect called her sister to come to the station, but when she arrived the officers found that she was also drunk. Both siblings were booked into the Northampton County DUI Processing Center.

Even with these humorous stories, a DUI charge is no joke. DUI penalties in Pennsylvania are fierce, and you don’t want to end up being on the wrong side of the law.… Read More

Fatal accident, but was there really alcohol?

Fatal accidents can be caused by many different things. Bad judgment, alcohol, stress, the actions of another driver… it takes time and expertise to figure it out. Police are left picking up the pieces to figure out what went wrong.

The accident happened in Dover very early in the morning. The driver was driving a large van. As she approached a curve, the vehicle overturned and rolled several times before stopping in a pond. Neither the driver nor her passenger were wearing seatbelts and were thrown out of the vehicle. The passenger died, and the driver is still recovering.

Police have said that alcohol and speeding may have played a factor in the crash, but without more knowledge it’s hard to say. Vans are notoriously top-heavy, and can tilt easily on a turn. The lack of seatbelts shows a lapse of judgment, but not necessarily a presence of alcohol. It was also very dark at the time, and they might not have seen the curve in time.… Read More

Distracted Driving is a Cause for Alarm

Eli ChristmanWe represent DUI cases primarily, but there is another form of “influence” that is claiming the lives of people all across the nation. This is commonly called “distracted driving”, and it happens when people use electronic devices in the car while driving. Texting, using a GPS, or talking on a cell phone can distract people from the road enough for an accident to occur. Some say it’s a bigger problem than even DUI.

In a story reported by NBC10 Philadelphia, a 17-year-old student was killed when she crashed her car while texting. The car left the lane, hit the curb, and then crashed into a rock wall. She was well regarded in her local community. Friends wore white to honor her.

Police say she was texting her boyfriend and her sister at the time of the crash.

If you are driving with an electronic device, put it away while you are driving.… Read More

DUI isn’t always the answer

Credit: Eli ChristmanOccasionally, the media will report a story about a DUI crash without reporting all details about it. One would think that this is merely the result of having the need to fill up the pages within their websites. Let’s take a look at this particular case.

A rollover accident occurred in Northeast Philadelphia in the northbound lanes of Roosevelt Boulevard at Bridge Street. There were two people in the vehicle, a 19 year old female and a 31 year old male. Both of these people were injured and transported to the hospital. The man who was in the car with the driver was in critical condition. The female, apparently, was released into police custody.

Because DUI crashes are the second leading cause of crashes, the media and the police will turn their attention toward that choice. The 19 year old driver was taken into police custody because she was suspected of a DUI.… Read More

Suspected police brutality will throw a case into question

When someone is pulled over as a suspect by the police, both parties need to watch their guard. There are things either one could do to jeopardize the results of a case. The police undergo extensive training before going out on the street, but sometimes things can go really wrong very quickly.

Credit: Dave MorrisOne incident caused an entire crowd of people to gather around and complain to the cops over what they did. There was a burglary in progress in Hunting Park in the middle of the afternoon. The police spotted a man on a bicycle that they thought was the suspect. When they tried to pull him over, he allegedly fled. Police pursued, striking him down with the front of their cruiser and hitting the porch of a home. Witnesses say the officer was trying to cut him off, but instead ran him down.

Two women rushed out to try and help, but the officers waved them back.… Read More

Breath Tests can be Suspicious

Credit: Richard BauerThis DUI story could have happened anywhere, even in your own hometown. In this case, we are turning our eyes toward the bustling college town of Bryn Mawr. It was just after 8pm. Grace Tuten was driving around the 700 block of Williamson Road. Perhaps she didn’t see the utility pole, the mailbox, or the large rock. When police officers arrived on the scene, the first thing that they did was conduct a breath test. Ms. Tuten’s blood alcohol content was at .28%, at least twice the legal limit of .08%.

This, considering that there was a 2 year old and 2 dogs in the car. The chaos must have been immeasurable for this lady who was merely trying to get home. Ms. Tuten was charged with ten traffic violations, including driving under suspension, DUI, and endangering the welfare of a child. The child did not appear to be injured. He was properly restrained in the back seat of the vehicle.… Read More

Marijuana can get you a DUI as well

Credit: Guihem VelutDUI is normally associated with people who drink too much alcohol at the bar, but other substances can also cause someone to be charged with the offence. Notably, marijuana and prescription drugs have caused people to have had a DUI charge thrown at them.

One such case happened recently in nearby New Castle where a man has been charged with his fifth DUI after fleeing from the police. According to the report, the man was driving erratically and honking. Police tried to pull him over but he kept going, taking the police on a twisty route before crashing into a tree.

Police found 29 grams of marijuana and that he was under the influence of the drug. He was taken to the hospital for injuries, and charged DUI, drug related charges, and many moving violations.

It’s important to know that if you take these substances it is not a good idea to get behind the wheel.… Read More

Teach your children not to drink too soon

Credit: Graham HillsDrinking alcohol is sometimes considered a rite of passage from child to adult, and that can encourage underage children to drink. There is plenty of peer pressure to go along with the crowd, but it’s better to wait until you are of age. In the eyes of the law, you could be at a big drinking party and sober and still be brought in for testing.

Someone doesn’t even have to be actually drinking anything at all in order to be convicted of underage drinking. They just need to be present with others who are or have access to the alcohol on the premises before law enforcement can cite you with the crime. Such a conviction can keep a young person out of college and severely limit their chances in a very competitive job market.

At Kellis Law, we specialize in defending those who are accused of DUI drinking, but we also want to help keep alcohol out of the hands of minors.… Read More