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Pittsburgh Pennsylvania Legal Blog

Getting DUI charges dropped: Helpful tactics

When you're faced with a DUI, the best thing that can happen is for the charges to be dropped. This happens more often than you may believe.

Why does it happen? There are many reasons. For example, the stop might have been illegal. The breath test might have been inaccurate. Medical exams could prove that medical conditions led to a person's actions, not intoxication. All of these reasons can lead to a DUI charge being dropped.

Was drinking and driving always illegal?

You may be surprised to know that drinking and driving hasn't always been illegal. Surprisingly, some states even allow open containers in vehicles today (Mississippi is a good example).

You know that driving after drinking is dangerous, which is why it's banned by today's laws. However, the first drinking-and-driving laws weren't established until 1910. It was then that the mass production of automobiles started, so the concern of drunk drivers was then becoming more serious than in the past.

When does a driver not qualify for the ARD?

Though some believe Pennsylvania is harsh towards punishing drunk drivers, the state does recognize the lifelong consequences one charge along can bring. That’s why it has the Accelerated Rehabilitive Disposition, a program which isn’t offered in any other state. This allows first-time offenders with no prior criminal convictions the chance to rehabilitate with fines and community service without having to go through tedious court proceedings. After completion, they can ask the court to expunge their record.

While the offender still has to pay some fees, it is still one of the better options for most facing DUI charges because they will not receive jail time and the charge dismiss with expungement means they do not have to worry about it getting in the way of their careers. However, not everyone facing DUI charges will be eligible for the ARD program. It is important for these people to know if they do not qualify so they can spend more time preparing for their cases.

Test yourself, and you'll know if you're over the limit

Most people know that there is no excuse for getting behind the wheel of a vehicle while intoxicated, but that doesn't mean that they won't do it.

When people drink, their ability to make good decisions is often vastly reduced. They may know that what they're doing is dangerous but continue on to do it anyway -- or they may convince themselves that they're actually sober "enough" to drive.

Get to know your options after a DUI arrest

Getting a DUI can be a serious problem that results in harsh penalties. You might lose your license or the ability to drive, lose your job or lose your position in a club or other activity. If you attend school, you might be suspended for your actions.

As someone accused of a DUI, it's vital that you take steps to prevent a conviction. Start by understanding what the prosecution needs to obtain one.

What if your parenting plan interrupts special events?

When holidays arrive, it's often a fight to determine where a child's going to spend their time. While parents often have parenting plans in place that dictate where a child will spend the holidays, special events and activities might make it hard to stick to those plans.

As a parent who wants to see your child experience all the joys of the holidays with all possible family members, what can you do? You don't want to lose the time you're guaranteed, but you also want to do what's best for your child. Here are a few ideas.

Why a simple assault charge may be more serious than you think

You should not let the designation fool you. When it comes to a simple assault, the second word is much more powerful than the first. A simple assault is the most common form of an assault and battery charge and the charges can stem from punching, pushing, grabbing, slapping, spitting, scratching or hair pulling.

If you are facing a simple assault charge, you can expect to pay expensive fines and can face up to five years in prison. You do not even have to touch another person to be charged with a simple assault, a charge can stem from bullying or menacing someone. Imposing such fear on a person who may feel for their safety or life is enough to warrant a charge.

How the cold air affects breathalyzer tests

Even after the holidays are over, winter still has a high DUI rate compared to some of the other seasons. This season has the least amount of sunlight, meaning that cops are on high alert since most DUI arrests and crashes occur in the dark. The slippery roads also mean most drivers have a higher chance of losing control over their vehicle even if they are not drunk. This could potentially lead to some misunderstandings.

Winter can also prove especially problematic for breathalyzer tests. While there are already numerous factors that could lead to inaccurate readings, Pennsylvania’s borderline freezing weather adds a few more hazards to the list from how it can affect the device and the body breathing into it.

Superintendent faces the loss of job over DUI charge

Getting a DUI can threaten your job, which is never good. It's important that you can go to work and bring home a paycheck. You want to make sure you can live comfortably.

Unfortunately, many employers will not retain employees who have DUI convictions on their records. For example, look at this case involving a superintendent from West Mifflin. He has been charged with a second DUI, but he claims, in his defense, that it is only his first based on the first being expunged.

Crimes related to drug paraphernalia

It's not only illegal to possess illicit drugs, but it's also illegal to possess the accouterments of drugs -- namely, drug paraphernalia. If law enforcement officials find that you're in possession of items used to take, manufacture, sell, measure, package, conceal or weigh illegal drugs, for example, you could be charged with a crime.

A charge of drug paraphernalia possession could be a serious offense that leaves you in trouble with the law, even if you aren't found in possession of any actual drugs. Furthermore, virtually anything could become "drug paraphernalia" in the eyes of the law if a court deems that the items were used in connection with drugs. For example, a small zip-lock baggie, a pipe that could also be used for tobacco smoking, a coat hanger, a piece of tinfoil and other seemingly innocuous items could all become "drug paraphernalia" depending on the circumstances under which they were found.

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