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A defendant appealed from a judgment of sentence imposed in March 2016, after he was found guilty of two counts of DUI-controlled substance and one count of failing to drive on the right side of a roadway. The Pennsylvania Superior Court affirmed his conviction.

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On January 11, 2015, at approximately 1:50 a.m., two Pennsylvania State Troopers were driving in the Canandohta Lake area. One of them was driving south on Lakeview Drive when he observed the defendant’s car approaching him. The officer testified that he saw that the defendant’s vehicle was somewhat in his lane of travel and that as the two vehicles approached each other, the defendant’s vehicle slowly moved back into its proper lane. The officer then turned left into a private driveway, backed out onto Lakeview Drive, and proceeded northbound to follow the defendant. He testified that he decided to follow the defendant based on the observation that he was not driving in his lane.

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A driver appealed from his 2015 conviction of driving under the influence of a controlled substance (DUI), third offense. Concluding that his arguments lacked merit, the Pennsylvania Superior Court affirmed his conviction.

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In October 2014, a police officer was on routine patrol at around 10:30 p.m. in a marked vehicle. He observed a vehicle traveling very slowly, and due to the number of thefts from vehicles in the area, he became suspicious and followed the vehicle. Based on his own speedometer, he determined that the vehicle was traveling at only about 10-15 miles an hour in an area in which the speed limit was 25 miles per hour. The officer observed that the license plate light was not functioning. Based on the suspicious manner of driving in an area with numerous vehicular thefts from vehicles, as well as the fact that the license plate was not illuminated, the officer stopped the vehicle. While speaking to the driver, he noticed that his eyes were glassy, and his pupils were dilated and did not react to light in a way that he, as a former trained EMT, determined to be appropriate. These were all indicators that the driver was possibly under the influence.

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The Superior Court of Pennsylvania recently affirmed a defendant’s DUI conviction, rejecting his argument that he was merely sleeping in the car that his mother had driven.

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At around midnight in July 2015, a woman was driving on Route 743. She noticed a car driving erratically in the right shoulder of the road. Ms. Kortwright followed the car for a while and then called 911 with the car’s license plate number. She stopped following the car when it turned into the Hollywood Casino.

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The Superior Court of Pennsylvania recently remanded for re-sentencing an appellant’s DUI conviction because he was subjected to enhanced penalties provided by sections 3803 and 3804 for refusing to provide a blood sample, in contravention of the United States Supreme Court’s recent directive.

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In the early morning of February 12, 2015, an officer witnessed a driver’s vehicle sideswipe a legally parked car. The officer initiated a traffic stop. When the driver rolled down the vehicle window, a strong odor of alcohol emanated from the vehicle. The officer and his colleague noticed that the driver had red, glassy eyes, and his speech was slurred.

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The Superior Court of Pennsylvania recently reversed and remanded an appellant’s DUI conviction in light of the Supreme Court’s June 2016 ruling in Birchfield v. North Dakota.

Supreme CourtIn August 2013, following a jury trial, appellant Hemant Kohli was found guilty of one count of DUI. The jury also found that Kohli had refused to submit to a blood test. Two months later, the trial court sentenced Kohli to 18 to 36 months in prison, followed by two years’ probation. Kohli did not file a direct appeal.

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Albert Williams appealed his convictions for general impairment driving under the influence (DUI), recklessly endangering another person (REAP), and fleeing or attempting to elude police. The Pennsylvania Superior Court affirmed in part, reversed in part, vacated the judgment, and remanded for resentencing–specifically, regarding Williams’ being convicted of three counts for the same conduct.

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In April 2014 at approximately 2:20 a.m., City of Pittsburgh Police Officer Lee Myers observed a Dodge driven by Williams make a left turn through a red light. Officer Myers began to follow Williams, and Williams proceeded to crash into a concrete barrier. Before Officer Myers could get to the site of the crash, Williams backed up the car and then began driving the wrong way down a one-way street. Officer Myers activated his lights and sirens and began to pursue Williams, who was traveling at over 25 miles per hour. Continuing to travel in the wrong direction, Williams drove through several intersections with stop signs. Williams eventually crashed the car again, disabling it, and then fled on foot before Officer Myers arrested him at gunpoint.

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The holiday season has always been a time of happiness, celebration and joy. While many people will be spending time with family and friends The Pennsylvania State Police will join together with other law enforcement agencies from around the country in the “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign. This campaign will run from December 16, 2016

through New Years Day. The goal here is obviously to aggressively crack down on drunk driving throughout the holiday season. Making sure that people are safe on the roadways is the primary concern and the police want to get the word out.

HNYAgencies throughout Montgomery, Bucks, Chester and Delaware Counties will be taking part in this DUI crackdown. Officials will be looking out for drivers who show signs of alcohol impairment on the roadways. Police Departments will also have Drug Recognition Experts (DRE) available if individuals are impaired by drugs, alcohol or both. The police will be taking this very seriously and so should you.

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The Superior Court of Pennsylvania recently held that when a sentencing court sentences a DUI defendant to County Intermediate Punishment (“CIP”) pursuant to 42 Pa.C.S. § 9763, the sentencing court is not required to impose a mandatory maximum pursuant to 75 Pa.C.S. § 3804(d).

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In June 2015, Alexis Popielarcheck pled guilty to two counts of Driving Under the Influence (DUI) (Second Offense – Ten Years); 13 counts of Disregard Traffic Lane; Reckless Driving; and Restraint Systems as a result of an August 2014 incident in which she was under the influence of various controlled substances. The court ordered a pre-sentence investigation and modified Popielarcheck’s bail to require inpatient drug and alcohol therapy.

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The Superior Court of Pennsylvania recently upheld an appellant’s DUI conviction, reasoning that the appellant waived his right to counsel by ignoring the trial court’s repeated directions for him to retain counsel.

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On June 21, 2015, Officer Fennell observed appellant William Demenczuk fail to yield to a stop sign. Officer Fennell activated his lights and siren in an attempt to effectuate a traffic stop. Demenczuk did not stop but continued driving to his residence. When Demenczuk exited the vehicle, he began screaming at Officer Fennell, who noticed an odor of alcohol on his breath. After Officer Fennell called for backup, he conducted field sobriety testing. Demenczuk was unable to recite the alphabet and could not complete the finger-to-nose test.

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Last month, Governor Tom Wolf encouraged Pennsylvania’s observance of the National Teen Driver Safety Week. The campaign was designed to motivate teenagers to beware of dangerous distracted driving behaviors — particularly texting and driving.

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PennDOT Secretary Leslie S. Richards said:  “Vehicle crashes are the number one cause of death among teens.” As part of Teen Driver Safety Week, Richards organized an online teen driver safety forum with students from 10 schools. “It is important for all of us to keep an open line of communication with teen drivers and help them to understand that driving is a very complex activity with potentially deadly consequences if safe driving habits are ignored.”

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