Can the police stop me for “no good reason”?
Unfortunately, the police can base a stop on any violation of the Motor Vehicle Code. Some of these are quite minor, and a few of the most common violations chosen are: failing to stay on the right side of the roadway / failing to stay within lane of travel, failing to properly signal, and a stop sign violation. Once you are stopped, the police are in a position to lawfully contact you and observe your behavior and physical characteristics. The initial stop can still be a fruitful way of challenging a Pennsylvania DUI cases; however, it is increasingly more difficult to challenge or suppress such a stop. Any challenge to the stop should be thought out carefully with an attorney.
How can I be DUI, “I only had a couple of beers”?
The present legal limit in Pennsylvania is only .08% BAC. How your blood alcohol content reaches that level is a complex matter. While you may find BAC calculators online, an expert familiar with blood alchohol chemistry is required in a court of law. Where your BAC is close to the next tier down (i.e. on the border of .10 or .16) you may wish to challenge the blood alcohol content through the use of an expert. Most DUI offenses are prosecuted on the basis of your blood alcohol content. Where you refuse a blood alcohol test, the Commonwealth has to prove that you were rendered incapable of safe driving. This means that they will rely on the observations of the officer and any field tests that were given. A Defendant in such a case may wish to call an expert on blood alcohol chemistry and behavior as well as contacting ordinary people who saw the defendant on the night in question.
What do I do if I refused a test?
If you refuse a test, you should have been informed by the officer that the refusal will result in a one year license suspension in addition to any penalties associated with the DUI and you will be subjected to harsher penalties for the DUI. If you refused last night or recently, call us as soon as possible. We will attempt to determine the validity of the refusal and determine if the refusal has been processed through PennDOT. If you receive any mail from PennDOT, an appeal must be filed within 30 days of the date of the mailing or else you will forever lose your right to do so.
Is an ARD a Conviction?
It depends. Generally speaking an ARD is not a conviction. You never have to admit guilt and you are never sentenced when your case is disposed of through the ARD Program. However, an ARD counts as a prior offense should you be convicted of another DUI in the future. Additionally, Commercial Drivers must keep in mind that an ARD counts as a “conviction” for the purpose of determining if your CDL will be disqualified. Commercial drivers should contact an attorney and review their driving history prior to the entry into an ARD Program.
What are the license suspensions for ARD?
The license suspensions are based on blood alcohol levels and circumstances as follow:
.08 to less than .10 = No suspension
.10 to less than .16 = 30 Day License Suspension
.16 and greater = 60 Day License Suspension
Unknown BAC = 60 Day License Suspension
Bodily injury = 60 Day License Suspension
Controlled substance = 60 Day License Suspension
21 years of age = 90 Day License Suspension
Contact an attorney for how penalties may apply in your case.
I was in the National Park and cited for OUI and other offenses by a Park Ranger, what next?
An offense under the Code of Federal Regulations for Operating Under the Influence or for a violation of a state law in a federal park is prosecuted by the National Park Service through the Office of the United States Attorney. These cases, when occurring in Delaware Water Gap National Park are listed for trial in Scranton or Wilkes-Barre. The trial is a one day event, and often a favorable resolution of the case can be reached if you have no prior offenses. Pretrial diversion is a viable alternative for certain motorists.