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%.
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.
Repeat drunk driving offenders in Pennsylvania are often required to install ignition interlock devices in their cars for a period of time before they are able to obtain their driver's license. An ignition interlock device prevents a person from driving a vehicle until someone blows into the device and no alcohol is detected. A Millersburg was recently caught having his 15-year old son blow into the device on 15 to 20 occasions. As if having your teenager blow into a device so the man could continue to drive drunk was not bad enough, the man drove while under the influence with his children in the car to get more beer.
A DUI checkpoint was recently staged in the Penns Valley area of Centre County. With the police stopping 77 vehicles but only making one DUI arrest and issuing two traffic citations, I would say that the checkpoint was not a success. Obviously, as a resident on this area, I am not complaining about a lack of drunk drivers being on the roadway. However, DUI checkpoints are not a cheap economic endeavor as they often require many police officers, and such warrantless stops of vehicles are an inconvenience to society.
I am sure that many people have heard incidents of recreational golfers sometimes having a few too many drinks while hitting 18 holes, and some of those incidents have resulted in DUI charges because the person drove the golf cart while under the influence. However, a U.S. Open fan recently topped it all. When a police officer instructed the fan who was driving a golf cart to stop, the man tried to get away but struck the officer in the process. After hitting the officer, the man sped on. Not surprisingly, the man was stopped, arrested, and ultimately charged with Driving Under the Influence, Hit-and-Run, and Assault on a Police Officer.
A York County judge recently convicted a man of a twelfth offense of a Pennsylvania DUI charge as well as a third offense of Driving Under Suspension DUI-related. As a DUI defense attorney, I have seen people with 4 to 5 prior DUIs, but 12 was a record for me. Also, when people have multiple prior convictions of drunk driving, a few of the prior offenses tend to be pretty old and occurred when the person was young and dumb. In this case, according to the fox43.com article, the man has had eight of these twelve driving under the influence convictions within the last 10 years. In 2009, the man was sentenced on four DUI incidents and was sent to state prison for a 3 to 15 year sentence. The man would have served at least 3 years in a state prison before being released on parole. The current charge obviously occurred while the man was on state parole, so the man will be returned to a state correctional facility for the parole violation in addition to receiving a sentence on the new case.