Published on:

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.

roulette wheel

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.

Continue reading

Published on:

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.

test tubes

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.

Continue reading

Published on:

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.

Continue reading

Published on:

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.

speeding car

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.

Continue reading

Published on:

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.

Published on:

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).

gavel

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.

Continue reading

Published on:

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.

gavel

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.

Continue reading

Published on:

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.

texting

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.”

Continue reading

Published on:

A.A. (a minor) appealed her adjudication of delinquency on charges of DUI, possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia, and a traffic violation. On appeal, A.A. solely challenged the juvenile court’s denial of her motion to suppress evidence. The Superior Court of Pennsylvania affirmed.

By Ildar Sagdejev (Specious) (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

In January 2015, Sergeant Still of the Halifax Area Regional Police Department was on a routine traffic patrol when he observed a sedan straddling the center yellow lines. He conducted a check on the registration and found that it was expired, and then he initiated a traffic stop.

Continue reading

Published on:

In 2015, roughly 5,500 Breathalyzer-enabled interlock devises were installed in Pennsylvania. The devices require drivers to blow clean into a Breathalyzer to start their vehicles. Last month, Governor Tom Wolf signed Senate Bill 290, which amends Title 75 to significantly expand the use of ignition interlock devices for DUI defendants. The bill, whose primary sponsor was Senator John Rafferty (R), will take effect in 2017.car

Breathalyzer-enabled ignition interlock devices prevent motorists from driving while intoxicated. Currently, first-time DUI defendants face a one-year license suspension upon conviction, and ignition interlocks only apply to repeat DUI offenders (drivers with more than one offense in 10 years). Under the new law, first-time DUI offenders with BAC levels of .10 to .15 percent could avoid the current one-year driver’s license suspension by instead seeking an ignition interlock license. The new law renders the devices available to first-time DUI offenders with the requisite BAC.

Continue reading