Centre County DUI Suspect Arrested for Driving Stolen John Deere Tractor

Common sense tells a person that he should not do something to draw the attention of the police if the person is engaging in criminal activity. According to a recent online article, a man was stopped in Centre County after he was found riding a stolen, full-sized John Deere tractor from the Pleasant Gap Uni-Mart, where he had just stopped for a sandwich at approximately 1:30 a.m. The man was stopped as he was heading back towards Jacksonville Road. Driving a stolen  tractor is the wee hours of the morning is obviously not a good way to avoid suspicion.

Centre County Driving Under the Influence Investigation

The article also stated that the man was arrested for suspicion of driving under the influence, which may explain why he made the decision to steal and ride the tractor in the first place. The man was not charged with DUI immediately. The drunk driving charges probably won’t be filed for a few weeks. In most Centre County DUI cases, the suspect is arrested and taken to the Mount Nittany Medical Center for a blood withdrawal to determine blood alcohol concentration. The person is then transported to the Centre County Correctional Facility to be fingerprinted, after which the person is released. The suspect does not receive any charges, does not appear before a judge, but is instead just released. The officer takes the blood from the hospital and has it sent to a lab for testing. Most, if not all, of the police departments in the State College area send the blood to the Pennsylvania State Police forensic lab in Harrisburg for testing. After the testing is completed and the officer receives the results, the officer will then file the charges with a Bellefonte Magisterial District Judge. It often takes at least a month for the charges to be filed following the DUI arrest.

Most Pennsylvania misdemeanor drunk driving charges are filed with a court and then mailed to the defendant through what is called a summons. The paperwork from the court will also inform the person of the first court proceeding, called the preliminary hearing. The preliminary hearing is not a trial, meaning the judge does not determine guilt or innocence beyond a reasonable doubt. Instead the judge’s role at the first court appearance is to determine whether or not there is a minimal amount of evidence, the Latin phrase is a prima facie case, to justify the charges. While the preliminary hearing is not a trial, it is a critical juncture in the case, and a person should have an experienced Pennsylvania drunk driving lawyer on his side.