Month: February 2015

Historic Gates Rammed in Alleged DUI Crash, Driver Might Have to Pay

downloadProperty damage cases related to DUI charges can sail through civil court pretty easily if there is a conviction. One driver may be facing a $70,000+ bill to replace a pair of historic gates.

On New Year’s Eve, a driver rammed the gates of the Allegheny Cemetery, shattering the wrought iron. The gates were original to the 168-year old cemetery. The caretakers of the cemetery say that they will try to seek full restitution for the restoration of the gates and using some of the original metal.

The driver of the vehicle appeared for her hearing today. Luckily for her and her passenger, neither were hurt at all after the crash, but she was charged with DUI and reckless endangerment. This is her second DUI, and she has other past driving related charges. She waived her right to a hearing and was released on her on recognizance.

Since she was knocked out at the crash, she was taken to the hospital.… Read More

How Much will your Insurance go Up?

downloadOne of the largest long-term consequences of a DUI conviction is increased insurance rates. Do you know how much they could go up? According to a new report, DUI is, on average, the most expensive charge you could get in terms of insurance premium costs.

While the increase varies by state, on average you can expect your insurance rate to jump by 92% if you’ve been convicted of DUI. That’s an astounding rate! It can go up even more if compounded with other charges. Reckless driving can raise it by 83%. The next highest is a relatively low 29% for speeding over 31 MPH. Often, reckless driving and DUI charges are filed at the same time.

In Pennsylvania, the costs are 55% higher for DUI and 49% for reckless driving. The lowest is for a seatbelt violation at %5.

“Most consumers are unaware of how much insurance rates go up even for a minor traffic violation, such as speeding a few MPH over the posted limit,” said Laura Adams, senior analyst at… Read More

Homicide by Vehicle DUI in Bucks County

images (7)Many of the stories of DUI that hit the national news wires are quite tragic. The evidence in these cases can also be very strong. A national news agency does not want to get egg on their face by making an incorrect assessment of a situation. Here’s an example of one of these DUI stories.

The accident happened in Bucks County, PA. A woman was driving just before Halloween last year down Highway 13. She was on a divided highway. Suddenly, a car hit her head-on and sent her car down into a ravine. She died at the scene.

The driver of the other car struck so hard that the roof had to be cut away to get him out of the vehicle. He has been charged with homicide by vehicle DUI and other offenses. His BAC was three times the legal limit. Five weeks before this crash, he pled guilty to another drunk driving incident.… Read More

Opinions Raised on Fair DUI Flyer in PA

A DUI lawyer from Florida has offered a way to help people avoid police interaction at DUI checkpoints. The process involves using a flyer against the car’s window to inform officers that you do not consent to certain things and the relevant legal codes. While there isn’t such a flyer for Pennsylvania yet, the lawyer plans on having similar flyers for all fifty states.

Some local lawyers have weighed in on the issue. While it may be technically legal to do such a thing, but practically it may anger the police further. A court may also rule that you’re required to roll the window down so the officer could smell for alcohol, which would render a big part of the strategy null and void.

The Supreme Court has held up the constitutionality of DUI checkpoints since 1990, but Pennsylvania does have a law where drivers can legally perform a U-turn to avoid going through a DUI checkpoint.… Read More

Legislator Fighting for Ignition Interlock Devices instead of License Suspension

download (93)The chairman of the State Senate Transportation Committee, John Rafferty, has been on a mission to install ignition interlock devices into the cars of anyone who is convicted of driving under the influence. Currently, you must be convicted of two or more DUIs to have one of these installed. Rafferty believes that legislation can be passed this year to install one in all offender’s vehicles.

An ignition interlock device tests for the presence of alcohol in a person’s breath before the car can be turned on. The theory is that by forcing a breathalyzer test before the car can be turned on, it can stop a drunk person from getting on the road at all. Opponents of the devices say that they are easily circumvented by having someone else breathe into the tube.

The current legislation being considered states that if a first time DUI offender has a BAC of 0.10 or higher, then one of these devices must be installed.… Read More

Light Sentence for 4th DUI? One Man Got Lucky

judge-gavelA quirk of the court system has allowed a man who racked up four DUIs in a year to receive a very light sentence. The defendant was given a DUI citation for driving at twice the legal limit and having cocaine in his system in December 2013. By the time September came around he had three more DUIs. In May, he was bounced from a bar for trespassing and drug possession.

He confessed to all the charges when he was finally brought before a judge. However, he only received time served, inpatient rehab, and two years of probation. Why couldn’t the judge give more punishment in such a case? All of the drunk driving offenses were considered a first arrest because he had never been sentenced for the first one. That law was changed at the beginning of this year, but because the offenses happened before the change the old rules applied.… Read More

Third Cruiser Crash in as many Weeks

download (63)Crashing into a police cruiser is a sure way to get the attention of an officer, but lately there’s been a string of crashes involving alleged drunk drivers in Philadelphia. The latest one caused the suspect’s vehicle to catch fire.

Early in the morning on Whittaker Avenue, a police officer was in the median with his emergency lights on. The suspect crashed into the cruiser and bounced off into a concrete pole at a high rate of speed. The officer was uninjured and was able to remove the driver as the car caught fire. The officer was uninjured but the driver had a broken leg.

While searching the car, the officer found a zipper bag with an unknown powder in it. The officer also reported smelling alcohol and the man having glassy eyes.

Another crash involved an officer on construction detail at Broad and Tioga streets. The officer involved in that crash had to go to the hospital.… Read More

Officer Facing Trial for False DWI Accusation of Assemblyman

download (62)Here’s an example of a case where a DUI arrest led to exoneration and to the trial of the officer who allegedly made false statements. Assemblyman Paul Moriarty (D., Gloucester) was arrested for DUI after leaving a Nissan dealership in Turnersville. The officer claimed he could smell alcohol and ordered the Assemblyman to perform field sobriety tests before getting handcuffed and taken to the station for a breath test.

The Assemblyman refused the breath test because he “had no faith in the process at that point.” When footage of the incident was shown at trial, the officer’s narrative was completely refuted and the criminal charges were dismissed. The prosecutor even went so far as to tell jurors “None of this happened.” Now the officer faces 14 charges in his own trial, including official misconduct and tampering with records.

During the Assemblyman’s testimony in Officer DiBuonavenutra’s trial, he said that he felt targeted, but had no idea why.… Read More

Bell Enters Pennsylvania’s ARD Program

download (61)A while back, Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell was arrested for DUI. Now he has had his time before the judge. He was arrested back in August after an officer smelled marijuana coming from his vehicle.

He has been sentenced to 15 months of probation, a sixty-day license suspension, must attend rehab classes, and has also been enrolled in Pennsylvania’s Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition program.  The ARD program is a special program for first-time DUI offenders with no prior criminal record. The court costs for this program are around $2400.

By entering into this program, he avoids going to trial and possibly facing a stiffer sentence. If he completes it, his record will be expunged. He may face further disciplinary actions from the NFL now that a sentence has been handed down, including possible suspensions.

The ARD program is one of the ways that Pennsylvania tries to help people who may have made a single mistake and got caught with DUI.… Read More

Fight DUI in Court, not during your Arrest

images (7)If the police catch you doing something you shouldn’t have, the place to fight it is during court, not during the arrest. Performing actions that could be considered resisting arrest will only make your case worse. Unfortunately, truly drunken drivers may not have the mental capacity to remember this.

One Beaver County woman is now facing DUI, resisting arrest, and open lewdness after a crash investigation. Police were called to the scene of an accident and found the driver in her car. The airbags were deployed, but for some reason she was naked from the waist down. She refused to put on her pants or leave the vehicle.

Officers eventually dragged her from the vehicle and found an empty bottle of alcohol on the seat. She had been sitting on it. She continued to refuse to put on clothes even after she was in the police cruiser. She also managed to kick out one of the windows, which gave her a trip to the hospital.… Read More