There was an unusually brisk turnout of voters on Nov. 7 in Pennsylvania. Many people were excited to cast their vote in the midst of so many controversial issues facing the public this year. Historically, election day is also a day when some citizens still go out and have some cheer to celebrate the day. There is usually a slight rise of drunk driving charges on election day.
The concept of the designated driver has been immensely popular and has saved the lives of many potential drunk drivers over the years. The Pennsylvania State Police, however, had a negative run-in with a designated driver recently. The 23-year-old man was allegedly drunk himself and speeding erratically on various highways in the Lehigh Valley area when the police stopped his vehicle and arrested him for drunk driving.
People from all levels of society are vulnerable to prosecution for the offense of DUI in Pennsylvania. Many officials and professional persons have been arrested and prosecuted for drunk driving. It may even be an occupational hazard for some politicians, who must attend a steady flow of receptions, dinners and picnics where alcohol is prevalent.
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.
A new tool in the battle against alcohol-impaired driving has been made effective in Pennsylvania. The law became operative as of Aug. 25, 2017. It applies to first-time offenders convicted of drunk driving who are found with a blood alcohol content of .10 or higher. These individuals can derive a benefit from the new law.
An accused person must be driving a vehicle under Pennsylvania law in order to be convicted of driving under the influence. The issue sometimes arises when the police find someone who is sleeping in a car or was reportedly observed driving by witnesses but not by the authorities. The issue may arise in a recent drunk driving arrest by the state police in the Pocono Mountains area of the state.
Too many drivers in Allegheny County have convictions on their driving records because of errors on two of the state's most common breathalyzer tests, the Intoxilyzer 8000.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court recently delivered a ruling that forbids police from taking a blood sample to test for DUI from an unconscious suspect. The decision is not surprising because it appears to parallel U.S. Supreme Court decisions in drunk driving cases. It is a Fourth Amendment violation for authorities to conduct a search in that manner.
Pennsylvania DUI laws require that an individual who refuses to take a blood-alcohol test is subject to a mandatory loss of his or her driver's license for one year. For a commercial truck driver in that predicament, the driver will also lose his or her commercial license forever, according to a recent Commonwealth Court decision. The appellate decision has a couple of interesting legal issues with respect to Pennsylvania's drunk driving laws and pertaining to its administrative laws regarding license suspensions.
The possibility of a DUI charge should worry anyone. Whether you were drinking before getting in the car or not, you will probably be on edge if a police officer pulls you over and asks you to take a sobriety test or breath test. Do you legally have to comply?