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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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Group-seeks-ignition-interlocks-for-all-DUIs-D713K69F-x-largeUnder current Pennsylvania DUI laws if a person is convicted of a first offense DUI they are not mandated to install an ignition interlock in their vehicle. This is the case no matter what an individuals blood alcohol level is. An ignition interlock however is required to be installed in a vehicle for all repeat DUI offenders. The Pennsylvania ignition interlock law was first enacted to reduce repeat driving under the influences offenses and to improve highway safety. It appears this all could change thanks to Senate Bill 290.

An ignition interlock device is basically a breathalyzer that is hooked up to an individuals vehicle. A driver would be required to blow into a mouthpiece attached to this device before their car will start. The purpose of this device is to keep an intoxicated driver from being able to start their car. In addition to starting the vehicle, the device will also prompt the driver to blow into the device periodically when prompted to do so.

The Pennsylvania House of Representatives this past Monday voted 193-2 to require the use of an ignition interlock device for most drivers convicted of a first offense DUI. Just yesterday the bill was unanimously passed by the Senate and now it is expected Governor Tom Wolf will sign into law however the new provisions would not take effect for close to 15 months. Under this bill, an individual with a first time DUI conviction with a blood alcohol level of .10 % and greater would be able to avoid the one year license suspension (currently the law) by installing an ignition interlock device in their vehicle for one year. As it stands right now an individual can apply for an occupational limited license but they have to first serve 60 days of their suspension. This new law would allow a person to drive for employment, school, doctors office or even just to do daily errands. However if this bill is eventually signed into law it would not extend to commercial drivers, persons who are involved in a DUI related accidents where someone dies or people accepted into the diversionary program ARD.http://www.pennsylvaniaduilawyers.com/a-r-d-accelerated-rehabilitative-disposition.html. Many states around the country already have similar laws on the books for first time DUI offenders.

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Parents throughout Pennsylvania gathered last month to advocate for harsher DUI laws that could have potentially saved their children’s lives. harrisburg-pa

PA Parents Against Impaired Driving (PPAID) is pushing Pennsylvania lawmakers to make stricter penalties against drunk driving. Specifically, they’re advocating for Senate Bill 290, which would require ignition interlocks for first-time DUI offenders. SB 290 will likely be reviewed by the governor this month.

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