If you have ever been pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving, you may have been asked to submit to a breath test. Intended to give authorities an idea of how much alcohol you consumed and whether that consumption has negatively impacted your ability to safely drive, the breath test uses a device called a breathalyzer to assess your blood alcohol level to see if it is above the 0.08-percent legal limit.
The police are familiar with observing Amish buggies on roadways in rural Central Pennsylvania, but they do not often see young men riding on top of the buggies. Some Pennsylvania State Troopers in Indiana County recently encountered such a sight and conducted a traffic stop of the Amish buggy. The stop led to the discovery that the passengers were under 21 and were drunk, and the police also found that the underage driver was also drunk and thereby charged with driving under the influence. According to an online article, the driver's blood alcohol was .065%. As most people know, the legal limit for adults is .08%, but the legal blood alcohol level for someone under 21 who is behind the wheel is .02%.
Alcohol is a part of life at Penn State. Whether you are a student exploring your newfound freedom from your parents or a die-hard Nittany Lions sports fan, there is a good chance you will sip on an ice cold beverage at a game. Of course, you have to get to the stadium, arena or court and back home again.
A Florida man was recently arrested and charged with Driving Under the Influence after he was operating his motorized wheelchair and allegedly blocking multiple lanes of travel on a roadway. I suspect that many people are surprised that a person can be charged with a DUI offense when they were not driving a car or motor vehicle. The DUI law in Pennsylvania, found at 75 Pa.C.S.A. §3802(a)(1), makes it illegal for an individual to "drive, operate or be in actual physical control of the movement of a vehicle after imbibing a sufficient amount of alcohol such that the individual is rendered incapable of safely driving, operating or being in actual physical control of the movement of the vehicle." This means that the Pennsylvania driving under the influence law applies to a person that drives or operates a "vehicle" while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
A Montgomery County, Pennsylvania judge was recently called upon to sentence a man on five cases at one time, an event which is not always outside of the norm. There are situations in which a person goes through a crime spree and has multiple criminal complaints and charges filed. This case was different because four of the five cases involved drunk driving charges, and all four of those DUI cases were considered first offenses.
In the fall of 2014, star Pittsburgh Steeler running back Leveon Bell was charged with a misdemeanor marijuana possession and various drug-DUI charges. Bell was charged after marijuana was found in a vehicle that had been driven by Bell. Bell admitted to having contributed money to purchase the marijuana and to having smoked some of the marijuana earlier in the day, but he denied that he was actually high at the time that he was driving. Bell thought that he was able to legally drive in Pennsylvania and avoid drunk driving charges as long as he was not high while driving. Regrettably for Bell, he was wrong about the law, and ignorance of the law is not a defense.
Drinking on the job is never a good thing, but it is a bit more obvious when you are in charge of cleaning the ice with a Zamboni machine at a high school hockey game. Similar to a typical DUI case, the police were summoned after people noticed erratic driving of the vehicle. While driving erratically on the road means that the vehicle is swerving over the painted lines on the road and almost striking objects, I am not exactly sure what constitutes erratic driving in an ice rink. After the police arrived and conducted their investigation, the man was arrested for suspicion of driving under the influence.
It is my understanding that the Elf on the Shelf may get into some minor trouble from time to time, but such an elf was recently charged with driving under the influence after being found asleep behind the wheel of a running vehicle with its headlights on and music playing. I feel bad for this elf as his costume and the pending DUI case has brought him unwanted national attention, but this case also gives me an opportunity to debunk a misunderstood part of Pennsylvania DUI laws, which is that a person can be charged with drunk driving even if he or she is not actually "driving" a vehicle.
A Rhode Island man may have broken a record by being charged with four separate driving under the influence cases in less than thirty-six hours. The 53-year-old man started the spree after taking a mid-morning Sunday drive, but the drive ended after the man crashed into a SUV that resulted in injuries to two children who were passengers in the SUV. The man was also treated at the hospital, but he was a less-than-exemplary patient after throwing a bottle filled with urine at the staff. The man was charged via summons with drunk driving and released.
A Pittsburgh area police officer recently stopped a vehicle after smelling marijuana coming from the car. Imagine the officer's surprise when he discovered that two of the three occupants in the car were Pittsburgh Steelers running backs. I am sure that the officer would have preferred to see the Steelers star players at Heinz Field as opposed to being part of a marijuana possession investigation. Because the one player was behind the wheel at the time, he was arrested for suspicion of driving under the influence. Both players were charged with Possession of a Small Amount of Marijuana under 35 P.S. § 780-113(a)(31), an ungraded misdemeanor, punishable by up to 30 days in jail, a $500.00 fine, and a suspension of Pennsylvania driving privileges. One player was also charged with Driving Under Influence under 75 Pa.C.S.A. § 3802(d)(2), which is also an ungraded misdemeanor. If this were a first offense of DUI, the maximum sentence for this charge would be 6 months incarceration, a $5,000.00 fine, and a 12-month suspension of Pennsylvania driving privileges.