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Drunk Driving Penalties In Pennsylvania: What You Need To Know

Being arrested for drunk driving can be a very scary and stressful experience. It can also leave you wondering what's going to happen to you, and whether there is any hope that the charges against you may be reduced or dropped. When it comes to DUI cases, details matter and the factors related to your stop, testing and arrest also matter.

Marijuana can make you a criminal for DUI and drugged driving in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania is one of a number of states that criminalizes a driver for DUI who has any amount of marijuana in their system.  The "per se" law  is set forth in 75 Pa.C.S.A. 3802 (d)(1).  If you are stopped for any reason and subjected to a blood test which reveals even trace amounts of marijuana, you could be charged with DUI or "drugged" driving, subjecting you to a loss of your license and even jail time.  You don't have to be impaired at the time you are stopped, or even driving poorly.  For instance, you could be stopped at a red light and rear ended.  If the police decide to test for drunk or drugged driving, even though you were without fault, if you have any amount of marijuana in your blood, you can be charged.  You may have not even smoked the marijuana, but in a room where others have and you ingested the second hand smoke.  Marijuana stays in your system for as long as thirty days.  A person legally using marijuana for medicinal purposes is still subject to this law.  So marijuana users, beware.  I believe this law may untimately be challenged and overturned, but until then you are at risk of being arrested, tried and convicted.

Couple charged with drunk driving in the same car

When you think about drunk driving arrests in Pennsylvania, it usually involves one person who is suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol. However, a recent drunk driving arrest in Beaver County is quite the opposite, in that two people were arrested for DUI in the same stop.

Are drunk designated drivers a problem in Pennsylvania?

When groups of people go to sporting events in Philadelphia, whether it is to see the Phillies, Eagles, or Flyers, chances are that a person is selected to be the designated driver. In essence, the driver is going to remain sober and be responsible for getting his drunk friends home. 

Celebrity doesn't always have its privileges

The notion that movie stars get preferential treatment from law enforcement may have been debunked last night. Actress Reese Witherspoon was arrested for disorderly conduct in conjunction with a traffic stop that left her husband (Jim Toth) arrested for drunk driving.

Police obtain DUI search warrants quicker with new app

While the Memorial Day holiday is weeks away, law enforcement agencies across Pennsylvania are gearing up for increased drunk driving patrols. The goal is the same as in years past: keep as many drunk drivers off the road as possible. This means making arrests and obtaining information to support criminal charges (usually through blood, urine or breath tests). However, some drivers may refuse these tests in an attempt to avoid criminal charges.

Philly police officer charged with DUI

It is ironic when police officers are arrested on suspicion of drunk driving. After all, they are charged with enforcing the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, so the expectation is that they would follow the laws that are put in force. For a police officer from the City of Philadelphia, this promise was allegedly broken.

The trouble with texting while driving

Texting while driving in Pennsylvania is against the law. Drivers caught sending (or reading) messages while behind the wheel are subject to a $50 fine. Subsequent violations will result in higher fines. The impetus behind the law was to make roads safer, as distracted driving accidents (crashes where one or both drivers were focused on a mobile device) have become so severe that they spawned a national campaign against texting while driving.

Police apprehend alleged drunk driver after leaving crash scene

Police in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, recently reported an intoxicated driver that led an officer in a chase. The supposedly intoxicated man could have caused a devastating drunk driving accident, according to witnesses. He nearly hit several pedestrians during the chase, all of them lucky that they were not injured. Authorities said that the driver was involved in a minor accident before the chase, one that he had supposedly fled the scene from.

Gregory R. Gifford
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