Author: Steven E. Kellis

Drugged Driving in Pennsylvania

Prescription Opioids and Cars Don’t Mix

Even though the news cycle is currently dominated by the pandemic and societal issues, it’s hard to turn on the television or open a newspaper without hearing about a drug-related death or crime. 

According to America’s Health Rankings, Pennsylvania had a 25% increase in drug deaths in the 2018-2019 period. That is an increase of 185% since 2007.

Over the years, new channels of drug distribution and trafficking across Pennsylvania have led to higher rates of drug addiction, which leads to more cases of drugged driving.

One of the most dangerous drugs impacting Pennsylvanians is prescription opioids. The Pennsylvania Governor’s Highway Safety Association found that 45% of fatally injured drivers tested positive for drugs in 2016. More than half of those tested positive for opioids.

If you received a DUI or DWI charge in Pennsylvania, you need to hire an experienced drug defense lawyer to represent you and work to reduce your charges. … Read More

The Connection Between COVID-19 and Drunk Driving in Pennsylvania

Stress and COVID

Many Pennsylvanians are experiencing high levels of stress due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While some deal with stress in a healthy and sustainable way, others are drinking heavily to numb their worries and fears. 

It’s common knowledge that stress and drinking go hand in hand. While a small amount of alcohol can help people relax in the short term, ongoing stress coupled with heavy alcohol use is a setup for disaster – especially if a person drinks and gets behind the wheel.

COVID and DUIs: Money

You should never drive drunk or under the influence of other substances. If you do, you’re not only putting yourself and others in danger, but you’re at risk of getting charged with a DUI offense. If you’re already struggling financially due to COVID-19, you’ll have even more trouble paying the bills, tickets, and fines related to a DUI.

Pennsylvania has a $300 minimum fine for first-time DUI offenders with a BAC threshold of 0.10.… Read More

dui checkpoint

What You Need to Know About Doylestown DUI Checkpoint Arrests

Like most areas of the U.S., Doylestown Township has a robust DUI checkpoint program. The city reserves the right to put up a checkpoint any time they deem a need for it. Most commonly, checkpoints will be set up on days when there is typically a spike in intoxicated driving, such as on a holiday or a popular getaway weekend.

Usually, the city will notify locals through a press release on the Doylestown Township Police Department website. Every time local precincts erect a DUI checkpoint, they must have a predetermined plan for executing the checkpoint, not discriminating against certain drivers or vehicles, ensuring tests for intoxication are valid, and to generally honor the rights of citizens.

If you are arrested at or near a DUI checkpoint, know that you have legal rights to defense. You can appoint a DUI defense lawyer in Doylestown to represent you and help you reduce or beat the charges.… Read More

Handing over the keys to a used car

Can Police Give Me a DUI If I’m In My Own 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. To illustrate this point, let’s take a look at some relevant factors, including a recent case that made its way to the Michigan Supreme Court.

No matter what circumstances may be affecting your case, it’s prudent to seek out the knowledge and advice of an experienced Pennsylvania DUI defense lawyer.Read More

Are the Penalties the Same for DUIs Involving Prescription Medication?

Many drivers are surprised to find out that the medicine they are legally prescribed can get them in the same amount of trouble as an illegal drug. In fact, it can be worse than having a few drinks before getting behind the wheel.

Working with an experienced Pennsylvania DUI attorney can help you fight your charges and avoid harsh penalties. Many DUI stops are conducted with critical mistakes, and other procedural errors can force prosecutors to drop or reduce charges. Your DUI lawyer can also help you seek a plea deal if no strong defense strategy is available.

Learn more about your options during a free, no-obligation case review with Steven E. Kellis. Call (215) 940-1200 or contact us online now to schedule your free case evaluation.

Driving on Prescription Meds Can Lead to Harsh DUI Penalties

The specific language of Pennsylvania’s DUI statute (P.S. § 3802(d)(2)) includes a provision for when a driver is, “under the influence of a drug or combination of drugs to a degree which impairs the individual’s ability to safely drive.”… Read More

Steven E. Kellis Receives Pennsylvania Super Lawyers 2020 Distinction

pennsylvania super lawyers 2020 - Steven Kellis

We are proud to announce that Steven Kellis has been selected to the 2020 Pennsylvania Super Lawyers list, an honor received for those lawyers who exhibit excellence in their area of practice. Only 5% of attorneys in Pennsylvania receive this distinction.

Each year, Super Lawyers evaluates attorneys from all 50 states based on 12 indicators of peer recognition and professional achievement, including:

  • Verdicts and settlements
  • Transactions
  • Representative clients
  • Experience
  • Honors and awards
  • Special licenses and certifications
  • Position within the law firm
  • Bar and/or professional activity
  • Pro bono and community service
  • Scholarly lectures and writings
  • Education and employment background
  • Other outstanding achievements

Using this process, the organization maintains a credible, comprehensive and diverse list of excellent attorneys that is used as a resource by other attorneys and consumers.

As a former prosecutor, and with more than 20 years of experience in Pennsylvania DUI law, Mr. Kellis has successfully resolved hundreds of DUI cases.… Read More

Do Ignition Interlock Devices Really Work?

In 2016, Pennsylvania passed a new law regarding punishments for driving under the influence. Under the new law, certain first-time offenders may be able to avoid having their license suspended. Instead, they can apply to have an ignition interlock device installed into their car. Doing so allows those who may have may a one-time mistake to still go to school or work, as long as they are sober.

While Senate Bill 290 was a widely-praised move at the time, problems with the devices have since been brought to light. Critics have been quick to point out that these issues can make choosing an ignition interlock device almost not worth it. And for those who are impacted by these problems, their daily lives can be severely hampered.

How Ignition Interlock Devices Workshutterstock_196210403

Before we can fully explain the problems ignition interlock devices, or IIDs, present, it’s important to understand how they work.… 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 visibly intoxicated person may later 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 another 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.

To sue someone successfully using the dram law, a person must be able to prove:

  1. The person who was being served was “visibly intoxicated.”
  2. The decision to continue to serve alcohol directly contributed to the injuries of another, which were caused by the intoxicated person they over-served.
Read More

How Much Alcohol is in Your Favorite Drink?

 

There are any number of resources regarding blood alcohol content (BAC) after you’ve been drinking. In fact, you can find our own with our BAC calculator. However, many of these require you to know how much alcohol you’ve had, and what the alcohol percentage is. For many drinkers, that kind of alcohol simply seems unavailable, especially after you’ve knocked a few back.

There are also many factors that influence your BAC. One of the most important is the alcohol by volume (ABV) in your drink. The more alcohol a drink contains, the more will enter your bloodstream, leading to stronger and more rapid intoxication levels. For example, a shot of tequila contains much more alcohol than a beer, so consuming several will increase your BAC more than several beers.

However, this is vital information. Driving with a blood alcohol content over 0.08 percent in Pennsylvania can lead to big trouble.Read More

Can I Argue Against Breathalyzer Results?

Breathalyzer testMany people regard a breathalyzer as some sort of infallible device. This includes police, those accused of DUI in Pennsylvania, and the general public. They assume that these devices can do no wrong and can never be inaccurate. Even judges, prosecutors and juries will make this assumption—despite the fact that there is a history of rulings, motions and legal actions that have thrown out past breathalyzer results.

In 2016, the Inquirer reported on one such incident. Inaccurate readings from a breathalyzer machine used by the Philadelphia police affected up to 1,000 former Philly DUI cases.

Unfortunately, the breathalyzer’s reputation as a mystical, never-fail device causes some Pennsylvania DUI suspects to neglect their right to defend their case. Rather than pursuing potential actions that could rightfully exclude invalid breathalyzer evidence—or generally help reduce the charges they face—DUI suspects simply give up. They accept a plea bargain or fail to argue against the results of the test itself.… Read More