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Clair Fink was charged with DUI, third-degree murder, and related offenses in May of last year. Driving drunk the wrong direction on Route 30 last spring, Fink head-on collided with a vehicle driven by Ligonier police Lieutenant Eric Eslary, killing him.

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According to police records, Fink and a co-worker had been drinking for hours in their car before driving the wrong direction on Route 30 at around 2 a.m. He and his coworker at  Westmoreland Pool Company were cresting a hill in their van when it crashed into Lieutenant Eslary’s SUV. Lieutenant Eslary was patrolling near Idlewild Park that night.

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The Pennsylvania Superior Court recently reversed and remanded a defendant’s DUI convictions in light of the United States Supreme Court’s holding in Missouri v. McNeely.

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In December 2012, Philadelphia Police Officer Amina Oliver observed defendant Stacey Lane’s vehicle blocking a lane on Loudon Street. Lane exited his car and shouted:  “Stacey Lane got love for Logan.” (Logan is the name of the neighborhood where the incident occurred.) Lane continued to scream at passing cars. Officer Oliver noticed that Lane had dilated pupils, and his body and car smelled strongly of PCP. Oliver called for a police car to take Lane to the hospital.

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A Superior Court of Pennsylvania recently affirmed appellant Ryan O. Langley’s appeal of his convictions of DUI and driving at an unsafe speed. The court upheld prior precedent holding that (1) an information is required to include facts that might increase the penalty when setting forth the essential elements; and (2) a defendant is not entitled to a jury trial for DUI because the Pennsylvania legislature has categorized the violation as petty for the purposes of a defendant’s jury trial rights.

Supreme Court

In November 2013, police responded to a report of a car accident in Lower Merion, Pennsylvania. While investigating the scene, officers spoke with Langley and noticed the odor of alcohol on his breath. After failing field sobriety testing, Langley was placed under arrest for DUI. His BAC was determined to be .092%.

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The Superior Court of Pennsylvania recently quashed Zebrick Hyreshie Jones’s appeal from his DUI judgement as untimely. gavel

In April 2014, Trooper Allar arrived beside a disabled vehicle on the shoulder of I-81. Trooper Allar observed damage to the hood and passenger side of the vehicle and a broken front-passenger window. The appellant was in the process of changing the left rear tire, while his girlfriend remained in the passenger seat. Trooper Allar inquired Jones as to the cause of the accident, to which he replied:  “I slipped and hit a tractor trailer.”

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Many people from around the United States are traveling to Brazil to cheer on Team USA in the Olympics which starts in 3 days.  To many just attending an olympic games is a bucket list item which can be exhilarating and something that won’t be forgotten. Anytime an individual leaves the United States it is important to understand the laws of the foreign country they are traveling to. The last thing you want is to find yourself, a family member or friend in serious trouble on foreign soil. Many people who are traveling to Rio de Janeiro for the Olympics will surely be partaking in consuming alcoholic beverages while enjoying the pageantry, competition and breathtaking views of Brazil.  For those people who are thinking of driving, be very careful.  Brazil has one of the strictest DUI laws in the world.

In the United States, the legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is a 0.08%.  In fact many people I represent tell me “they only had a beer or two and felt fine to drive”.  This is NOT the case in Brazil. “Lei Seca” is the Brazilian law that absolutely prohibits anyone from driving in their country with ANY alcohol in their system. So to put this in another way, the legal limit in Brazil is 0.0%. From what I have read this law is strictly enforced within and around Rio de Janerio where the Olympics are being help. Authorities will be out in full force to make sure things run smoothly and this will include that individuals are following the laws including “Lei Seca”.

If an individual is stopped and arrested for a DUI in Rio, they could also be facing very harsh penalties including possible jail time. Ignorance of the laws of Brazil will certainly NOT be a defense just as it is not a defense in the United States. Brazil has a great public transportation system, including the metro, buses, trains and taxis. In addition most people don’t realize that UBER can be used in other places around the world including at the olympics in RIO.  So make sure before leaving for the Olympics to put the UBER app on your smartphone so they are just a click away.

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In the wake of the Fourth of July, historically known for its high rate of drunk-driving fatalities nationally, Pennsylvania police departments have been enforcing new DUI rules mandated by the recent Supreme Court ruling in Birchfield v. North DakotaSCOTUS

Chief Gleason of the West Goshen Police Department said his officers would start implementing the new rules immediately. They will strive to perfect their procedures for investigating DUIs and making arrests. They plan to continue to pursue drunk drivers vigorously.

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A recent decision  by the United States Supreme Court will have a major impact on DUI cases across the Country including Pennsylvania.  Until now a police officer was not required to obtain a search warrant for a driver’s blood if they suspected impairment. The Supreme Court’s landmark decision in BIRCHFIELD v. NORTH DAKOTA changed all this. http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/15pdf/14-1468_8n59.pdf The Court held that “The Fourth Amendment permits warrantless breath tests incident to arrests for drunk driving but not warrantless blood tests”.  The Court went onto say that breath tests do not implicate significant

Unknownprivacy concerns unlike blood tests which require the piercing of the skin and extract a part of the subject’s body.

In Pennsylvania this will have an significant impact on how DUI cases are prosecuted. District Attorney’s Offices in Philadelphia, Montgomery, Chester, Bucks and Delaware Counties are deciding what they will do with cases presently in the system that are affected by the Supreme Court’s ruling.  Prosecution of cases in which a breath test was involved should have no impact since again the Court ruled that a search warrant is not required for a breath test.  On the other hand if an individual has been charged with a DUI and submitted to a blood test BIRCHFIELD will have an impact on the outcome.

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The Superior Court of Pennsylvania recently affirmed an appellant’s conviction of DUI and related charges, holding his arrest based on an informant’s tip was supported by reasonable suspicion, and his conviction was supported by the weight of the evidence. nokia

John Vincent Kennedy was convicted following a bench trial of DUI, general impairment, careless driving, and restriction on alcoholic beverages, among other charges. He was sentenced on June 5, 2015 in Dauphin County. Kennedy filed a post-sentence motion, arguing that the verdict was against the weight of the evidence, which the trial court denied. Kennedy appealed.

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Nottingham resident Thomas Candler Felts will serve 30 days to six months for giving beer to Amish teens and then slamming their horse-drawn buggy with his car. The 25-year-old Felts was sentenced this month in Lancaster County Court after pleading guilty to misdemeanor counts of furnishing alcohol to minors and DUI. At the time of the March hearing, Felts had no prior record. His prison sentence is scheduled to be followed with a year in probation.

Amish Carriage

Prosecutor Travis Anderson stated at the sentencing hearing that Felts’ case was among the most “bizarre” DUI cases he’d ever seen.

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The Pennsylvania Superior Court recently held that a trial court’s reference to defense counsel’s status as a public defender before the jury in a DUI case was not grounds for a mistrial. courtroom

One afternoon in May 2014, Pennsylvania state trooper Michael Perillo was dispatched to Interstate 76-West due to reports of erratic driving. Appellant James Melnick reportedly drove his blue Volvo past other drivers, struck the center concrete barrier, and continued driving. Melnick continued driving recklessly. He nearly struck two vehicles and crossed rumble strips. As he proceeded onto State Route 422 West, Melnick almost struck the guardrail. Once on the road, he drifted out of his lane and struck another vehicle driven by Derek Beeks, who had his four-year-old granddaughter as a passenger.

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