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January 2013 Archives

Real Estate Sellers' Disclosure

Generally, an individual sellling residential real estate must disclose any known,  material defects affecting the property.  A material defect is one that would have a significant adverse impact on the value of the property or poses an unreasonable risk to people on the property.  In the case of Milliken v. Jacono, the Pennsylvania Superior Court recently clarified that the duty to disclose applies to physical defects, not psychological defects.

Breathalyzer tests temporary suspended by PA state police

This week we wanted to follow up on a prior post where a Dauphin County judge dismissed several DUI cases due to concerns over the breathalyzer machine used to measure a driver's blood alcohol levels. Essentially, the Intoxilyzer 5000EN, the machine used in the cases, had not been independently tested to ensure accuracy.

Breath Testing Devices Taken Off-Line

As a result of a DUI ruling in a court in Dauphin County, the Pennsylvania State Police have taken the use of all breath testing machines offline until a further determination is made. The Court has ruled that breath testing in Pennsylvania on blood alcohol readings below .05 BAC and above .15 BAC fail to meet the scientifically acceptable level of reliability used by prosecutors to meet their burden of proving a defendant guilty of drunk driving beyond a reasonable doubt.  The case has now been appealed to the Superior Court by the Dauphin County District Attorney.  Until then, the case has little precedential value, which means if you are charged with drunk driving after failing a breath test, your case may still go to trial depending on where you were arrested.  Most of the local counties rely on blood testing for DUI results, and not breath testing.  Those cases will not be affected by this case.  The fallout from this will include more people being charged because blood testing is more reliable, but also picks up drugs that are in the blood legally or illegally.  Someone who ingests marijuana a week before being arrested, for instance, will likely have the marijuana show up in the blood and cause charges to be brought despite having no effect on the drivers ability to safely operate the vehicle.

Why you need Attorney representation

No person shall ever, ever, ever go to a Preliminary Hearing on a DUI or any criminal matter without an attorney. A criminal case has many levels, the Preliminary Arraignment, Preliminary Hearing, Arraignment, and Pre-Trial Conference/Trial. The Preliminary Hearing is one of the most critical stages of any criminal prosecution, and no person should go to the Preliminary Hearing without proper representation. Never hire a lawyer who is not familiar and experienced with your type of case, and don't be afraid to ask the lawyer how many DUI cases they handle in a year. Once a Preliminary Hearing is waived, many potential positive outcomes are lost forever.

Pennsylvania crash results in 11 bus passengers and 1 driver hurt

A passenger bus crashed in Northwest Pennsylvania recently sending 12 people to an Erie County hospital. Among the people injured in the car accident was the 48-year-old bus driver, whom rescue crews spent more than an hour trying to remove from the wreckage.

Manslaughter sentence for ex-officer has 3-year minimum term

A former police officer was recently sentenced in a Pennsylvania courtroom for charges related to the deaths of two Northampton County motorcyclists and injuries of four other riders. Charges for the drunk driving accident were reduced from DUI vehicular homicide and assault to involuntary manslaughter and a series of lesser alcohol-related charges.

Cowboys' Ratliff suspected of DWI after accident

The Dallas Cowboys are in the news again for a drunk driving arrest. This time, defensive tackle Jay Ratliff has been arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated after being involved in an accident. According to an MSNBC.com report, Ratliff crashed into an 18-wheeler before hitting a guardrail. A police spokesperson indicated that Ratliff displayed several common signs to indicate drunk driving (e.g. smelling of alcohol, slurred speech).

State sees decline in number of workplace deaths

Many workers in Pennsylvania consider the possibility of being injured on the job. Workplace accidents happen quite often and can be out of the victim's control. And while injuries are a legitimate concern, a more serious worry is the potential that an on-the-job injury could result in a fatality. The number of workplace fatalities seen in 2011 is addressed in a recent report published by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, a division of the federal Department of Labor.

County court ruling could impact thousands of PA DUI cases

A recent ruling involving breathalyzer results could impact thousands of high-level DUI cases throughout Pennsylvania. A Dauphin County judge ruled that breathalyzer machines were not accurate in gauging blood alcohol levels higher than .15 percent. As such, breathalyzer evidence could not be used in prosecuting (extreme) DUI cases.

Man flees police, finds himself in crash that hurts pedestrians

A 47-year-old man from York Township, Pennsylvania, has been behind bars since May. According to police, he was involved in a drunk driving accident that injured two pedestrians. One of those pedestrians was severely injured after the crash that occurred on May 3 around 2:15 a.m.

Woman dies in six-car accident on Pennsylvania Turnpike

A crash in Washington Township, Pennsylvania, has left one woman dead. The car accident occurred four days before Christmas on the Pennsylvania Turnpike in Lehigh County. According to reports, the woman who passed away was a 29-year-old resident of Whitehall, Pennsylvania.

Fewer drunk driving arrests reported

While the New Year's parties have ended and people settle into normal life in 2013, we look back on trends for drunk driving arrests. While final statistics are still coming in for the recent holiday season, it appears that DUI arrests are trending down. According to a report by the American Automobile Association (AAA) there were fewer DUI arrests in 2011 in Pennsylvania (50,413) compared to 2010 (52,000).

Gregory R. Gifford
  • RGS&G Firm News

    "Gregory R. Gifford, a partner at the Lansdale law firm of Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg and Gifford, P.C., was elected Vice President of the Montgomery Bar Association on January 13, 2017. Mr. Gifford is a past Director of the Association and has also served as its Treasurer and Secretary"Read more...

  • Super Lawyers | Rising Stars
  • National board of legal speciality certification
  • American college of trial lawyers
  • National board of trial advocacy | EST 1977
  • 2013 | Subarbanlife | Awesome Attorneys
  • PennSuburban | Chamber of commerce

Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg and Gifford has been a member of the local Penn Suburban Chamber of Commerce (previously known as North Penn Suburban Chamber of Commerce) for more than 25 years.

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