Pennsylvania has recently toughened its DUI laws in several respects. This is in keeping with the increasing threat of drunk driving to the citizens of the Commonwealth. Those who are accused of drunk driving face tougher laws and more stringent punishments.
Sometimes, a drunk driving violation can involve a first offender in a simple police stop where the police observed some form of erratic driving. That kind of traffic stop can lead to the discovery of other facts that the police parlay into probable cause to make a DUI arrest. If there is no collision, no accident and no injuries, the first offender can avoid a jail sentence and serve a relatively small sentence under a form of probation with a driver's license suspension.
Of course, as the severity of the alleged drunk driving event increases, the penalties and punishment meted out by the courts becomes more severe. An incident occurred in South Philadelphia recently that demonstrates the more serious kind of DUI event. It involved the kind of accident that can put the accused drunk driver in a position to face an extremely serious potential punishment.
The police arrested a woman who allegedly drove her SUV into a group of people enjoying a block party on South Ringgold Street. She is accused of rambling into the tents and tables, knocking them over and hitting at least eight people, several of them senior citizens. The victims suffered a variety of injuries and were taken to Philadelphia hospitals for treatment.
Police indicated that they will charge the driver with drunk driving. The crash remains under investigation, and it is likely that other criminal charges under Pennsylvania law, such as reckless driving and even some forms of assault, may be charged. The accused claims that the brakes went out on her as she approached the block party. Whether that defense holds up will be determined by defense counsel who will be duty-bound to give an aggressive defense to the defendant.
Source: 6abc.com, "Driver taken into custody after crashing at block party in South Philadelphia", Jeff Chirico, Sept. 4, 2017