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Pennsylvania Criminal Law Blog

Is an addictive drug causing problems in your life?

There is definitely a major drug epidemic in Pennsylvania. In fact, you might say that certain drugs are problematic throughout the nation. Some drugs are more addictive than others. If you have ever suffered a muscle strain or other injury that caused chronic pain, your doctor may have diagnosed a pain relief medication that is among the types of drug most prone to addiction.

Perhaps you are currently battling a substance abuse problem. If so, you are definitely not alone in your struggle, as data from a single year shows that as many as 21 million people in the United States, ages 12 and beyond, have experienced similar challenges in their lives. Drugs can not only cause mental and physical health problems but legal trouble as well, in which case, it is critical that you know where to seek support.

Facing a DUI homicide charge?

Your night out at a local bar with friends ended in tragedy. You collided with another vehicle, and the driver of that car did not survive the event. You suffered injuries and required hospitalization. While there, police requested a blood test to check you for impairment, which came back showing a high blood-alcohol concentration. After your release from the hospital, police took you into custody and filed a DUI homicide charge against you.

In the blink of an eye, your life has changed forever. You probably feel lost and do not know where to turn for help. A DUI homicide charge is nothing to treat lightly. The state of Pennsylvania certainly will not. How you handle your case and who you have at your side matters.

Know the facts regarding field sobriety tests in Pennsylvania

If you've experienced a traffic stop in Pennsylvania, you know how disconcerting such situations can be. Nothing can ruin a nice night out with friends or even a daily commute worse than seeing those flashing patrol car lights in your rear view mirror. If a police officer has written a traffic ticket with your name on it, you're definitely not the first, nor will you be the last, to face the option of paying the fine or fighting the ticket in court.

If a police officer suspects you of drunk driving, that's a whole other ballgame. You may already know that DUI is far more serious than a speeding ticket, which is a traffic violation. If you face DUI charges in court, prosecutors are accusing you of a criminal offense, which may greatly impact your future in more ways than one. To determine probable cause for arrest, many police officers use field sobriety tests. The more you know about such tests, the better, as well as where to seek support, if needed.

Implied consent does not mean you have to comply

When you register to get a driver's license in Pennsylvania or elsewhere, there are certain terms that come with it to which you agree. For example, implied consent laws. If pulled over for suspected impairment, you agree to chemical testing.

Does implied consent really mean you have to comply? While expected, no, you do not. You have the right to refuse.

Last time you checked, were DUI checkpoints legal?

If Pennsylvania police have ever stopped you at a random point along the road, perhaps while you were traveling to visit family for Thanksgiving or some other holiday, you know how frustrating it can be, especially if you were already running a bit behind schedule. Long lines of cars inching forward bumper-to-bumper while officers approach each driver's window asking questions may not be the exact scene you had in mind when looking forward to gathering with loved ones.

In fact, you may find yourself sitting behind the wheel, feeling as though the existence of the checkpoint invades your privacy. If so, you're definitely not the first person to question whether DUI checkpoints are legal or are undermining your Fourth Amendment rights.

A DUI could put your CDL in jeopardy

Obtaining a commercial driver's license is no easy task. After hours of training and education, you received the right to drive a big rig, a bus or some other commercial vehicle. More than likely, you tied your livelihood to your CDL. Because of this, you remain vigilant and diligent while driving for work. You make sure that you don't get behind the wheel of your commercial vehicle after drinking.

Even so, you may have stopped and had a drink or two. You probably felt that you waited an appropriate amount of time and got back into your commercial vehicle not thinking that you may be intoxicated. Unfortunately, a police officer pulled you over and suspected you of driving under the influence while on the job. After a breath test and perhaps field sobriety tests, you end up under arrest on suspicion of drunk driving.

What are metabolites and why do they matter to my DUI case?

Put simply, any substance you ingest breaks down into by-products called metabolites. Breath tests for alcohol-related DUIs can't actually measure the amount of alcohol in your blood. Instead, they measure two metabolites in the body. Measuring these by-products of alcohol works in these cases because it leaves your system quickly. This means that the presence of metabolites supposedly indicates how much alcohol remains in your system at a particular time.

What about drug-related DUIs and metabolites?

A suspended CDL: What are your options?

If you are a truck driver or the driver of a commercial vehicle, you know that having a commercial driver's license (CDL) in good standing is critical to your career and financial security. If convicted of DUI in Pennsylvania, it can result in the loss of your license for up to one year. This applies to your CDL, not just your regular license.

Your livelihood may be in jeopardy, but there are options available to you. It is possible to defend yourself against drunk driving charges and protect your driving privileges, but you would benefit from the assistance of an experienced attorney to help you accomplish your legal objectives.

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