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%.
I would say that this could only happen in Pennsylvania, but there are actually Amish communities in many states across the United States. It just so happens that the Lancaster area may be the most famous area associated with Amish, and this case happened to occur in Lancaster County. While I do not believe that young Amish adults are as involved in criminal activity as portrayed by the television show Amish Mafia, many young adults do make bad decisions. According to an online article on fox43.com, a few young Amish men were in the parking lot of a Turkey Hill convenience store when a 25-year-old man pulled in and decided to impress the young men by showing them his pistol and by giving them some Yuengling Lager beer. The entire group then left the parking lot, the man in his car and the young Amish men in their buggy. The man later passed the buggy, and, according the article, it sounds as if the man abruptly stopped his car and was then rear-ended by the horse and buggy.
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.
In a very sad story, a 20-year-old Allegheny County man was driving under the influence when he struck and killed a 6-year-old girl that had been standing in her driveway. A tragic story all around. A 6-year-old struck down as her life was just getting started. While the young girl is the innocent victim, one must also consider that the 20-year-old must live with the memory that he took the life of another. Having such memories will haunt him for the rest of his life. He will have plenty of time to reflect on his actions as a conviction of Homicide by Vehicle While DUI would result in a relatively lengthy prison sentence being imposed. Upon his release, when he completes employment applications, he will also report that he is a convicted felon, and he will have to explain that his poor decision to drink and drive as a 20-year-old caused him to take the life of another. Imagine this young man is 40 years old and has a 6-year-old daughter that wants her father to coach soccer or attend a school field trip as a chaperone. The father will be reminded that his prior criminal history prevents him passing a background clearance check to participate in such activities, and when he looks at his daughter, he will be reminded of the life that he took. Again, this is just a tragic story all around, and a story that requires prayers for all those involved.
A Centre County judge recently presided over a Bellefonte case in which the State College DUI defense attorney filed a motion to suppress and argued that the arresting officer did not have sufficient probable cause to stop his client. In the case, caption Commonwealth v. Lose, CP-14-CR-2014-2014, a Bellefonte detective conducted a traffic stop of the suspect's car because the detective believed that the driver had failed to stop at a red light. During the traffic stop, the detective noticed general signs of intoxication about the driver, such as the odor of alcohol on breath, slurred speech, failure to successfully complete the field sobriety tests, and a positive result on the breath test. Based upon those intoxication indicators, the detective felt that he had probable cause that the man was driving under the influence, so the man was arrested and transported to the Mount Nittany Medical Center for a blood alcohol test. After the test results showed that the man's blood alcohol level was above the legal limit, the drunk driving charges were filed in Bellefonte with the district magistrate judge.
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.
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.