DUI

Being Charged With a DUI: Should I Blow for a Breathalyzer, or Should I Refuse?

Posted by on Jun 15, 2016 in Criminal Law, DUI | 0 comments

Being Charged With a DUI: Should I Blow for a Breathalyzer, or Should I Refuse?

If you are arrested for a DUI, implied consent laws in Pennsylvania mean you need to submit to a breathalyzer, blood alcohol or urine test to determine your blood alcohol level. As long as a police officer lawfully arrests you, the implied consent law in PA states you have granted consent to a chemical test. You can be charged with a DUI without blowing into a breathalyzer. If you refuse to submit to a blood alcohol, urine or breathalyzer test, you can be charged with a DUI, and refusal to test your blood alcohol level will result in an automatic suspension of your license. What Are My Rights? If a police officer has been observing you for at least 20 minutes, he or she can ask you to blow for breathalyzer. You may also be asked to submit to a blood alcohol or urine test within two hours of driving. You can ask for another test if you feel one test has been administered incorrectly or is inaccurate. However, both tests can be used in court. This means if you fail a breathalyzer test and request a blood alcohol test, the blood alcohol test will serve as further evidence against you if it confirms you were over the limit. It’s also important to realize you may not have the right to refuse a breathalyzer or other test, even if you were not technically driving. If you are in a vehicle and over the legal blood alcohol limit, you can be charged with a DUI, even if you’re not actually driving. For example, if you are pulled over but you have the ignition on, you can still be accused of a DUI. Therefore, arguing that you’re not actually operating the vehicle at the time of the DUI arrest is not a defense. What Happens If I Refuse a Test? Under DUI implied consent laws in Pennsylvania, you will automatically have your license suspended. In addition, you will face harsher penalties. If you are found guilty of driving under the influence, even without the proof provided by blood alcohol, breathalyzer or other tests, you will be charged at the highest tier. This means you will be charged as though you have the highest level of blood alcohol possible, even if you only had a few drinks. In other words, you may get a much harsher penalty than if you simply took the test and were found to be above the blood alcohol limit. What Should I Do If an Officer Asks for a Breathalyzer or Urine Test? If you’re accused of a DUI and are asked for a test, it is best to consult an attorney. It may be best to submit to a urine, breathalyzer or blood alcohol test — although this will depend on your specific situation. Keep in mind that you can refuse to take a field sobriety test and instead insist on a breathalyzer, urine or blood alcohol test. Field sobriety tests are more subjective and may be affected by fatigue and other factors. Blood alcohol tests and other chemical tests may be more accurate. Some people worry that submitting to a test will offer police evidence against them. However, even without evidence from these tests, a driver will lose their driving privileges. In addition, conviction can still occur. Police officers can get evidence from witnesses, video evidence from cruisers and police testimony as well as other evidence to prove someone was driving under the influence. If you have been accused of a DUI, contact MPL Law for a consultation. Our attorneys believe one mistake shouldn’t affect...

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Can I Still Drive to Work If I Got a DUI?

Posted by on Jun 7, 2016 in Criminal Law, DUI | 0 comments

Can I Still Drive to Work If I Got a DUI?

“If I have a DUI, can I still drive to work?” At MPL Law, this is one of the questions we get asked most often in DUI cases. While most of us learned in drivers’ education classes that driving is a privilege, for many adults, it becomes a necessity for getting to work, school and other engagements. Losing driving privileges after a DUI or getting a license suspended can result in significant and immediate problems. How will you get to work? How can you keep attending school or going to church? How can you drive your family around or run errands? If you live in a rural area especially, getting around can be extremely difficult. You may have to rely on friends and family for errands, or you may need to spend substantial amounts of money on taxis or other driving services. If I Have a DUI, Can I Drive? A DUI in Pennsylvania will generally result in automatic suspension of your license, meaning you will not be able to drive right away. This can be extremely difficult, especially if you need to work. Although it may be tempting to continue to drive with a suspended license, it is important not to do so. Being caught driving with a suspended license after getting a DUI results even more serious penalties and charges. If your case is before the courts, being caught driving with a suspended license can hurt your case. In addition, if you are in a car accident with a suspended license, you will face additional penalties, fines and legal problems. In some cases, the other driver can file civil charges against you. If you have a DUI and are concerned about your driving privileges, it’s important to consult with an attorney right away. An attorney may be able to help you explore the options that may exist in your case. One option, for example, is a restricted license, also known as a “bread-and-butter” license. Granted by the DMV, this type of license gives you some limited driving privileges. Using this license, for example, you can generally drive to work, school and perhaps church. However, getting this license isn’t always simple. You may need to agree to certain conditions — such as only using the license for specific driving tasks, using an ignition device or only driving during specific hours. It is important to follow all of these restrictions carefully to ensure your restrictive license isn’t revoked. Violating the terms of your restricted license will also result in further penalties. If you have been charged with a DUI, you’ll want to take steps to protect your driving privileges. Your driver’s license can help you earn a living and can help you live your life to the fullest. If you’ve been charged with a DUI, contact MPL Law as soon as possible for a consultation. Our attorneys believe everyone deserves to be heard and receive compassionate support. We don’t believe one mistake defines you, and we work hard to handle the details of your case so we can minimize the impact on your future. Learn About DUI Defense > > photo credit:...

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Should I Tell My Employer If I Got a DUI?

Posted by on May 30, 2016 in Criminal Law, DUI | 0 comments

Should I Tell My Employer If I Got a DUI?

If you’ve been arrested and charged with a DUI, you may have to tell your friends, family and law enforcement about the circumstances surrounding the situation. Lots of people may know about your DUI. Making the decision about whether or not to tell your boss about the charge, however, can be especially nerve-racking. I Got a DUI: Should I Tell My Employer? If you are employed and are charged with drunk driving, your DUI arrest can affect your employment. For example, if you are required to drive to work, you will have to find an alternate form of transport while your license is suspended. If you are required to operate company vehicles at work, your employment contract will generally say you need to disclose all DUI arrests and conviction. One of the first things you’ll want to do if you have been arrested and charged is to read your employment contract. Certain types of employees — including those who drive, pilots, those who work in public office, those who work in schools, military personnel and others — may need to disclose any DUI arrest to their employer. Your specific contract may require you to report your DUI when you are arrested, charged or convicted. It’s important you comply with your employment contract, or you may be fired. One of the reasons employees hesitate to tell their bosses about a DUI is they fear being fired. Unfortunately, employers do have the option of firing someone for a DUI — especially in cases where an employee is required to drive, work with children or work in other high-responsibility professions. A DUI arrest or charge can also affect future career prospects by making you seem like more of a risk for promotions and certain types of positions. Nevertheless, if your employment contract requires it, you will want to share your arrest or conviction with your employer. Before speaking with your employer, you may want to consult with an attorney who can advise you about ways to minimize the impact of a DUI charge on your life in your career. An attorney can represent you if you feel you’re being treated unjustly because of your record. If your work contract doesn’t require you to disclose a DUI arrest or charge, you may have the option of keeping the charge private. Nevertheless, office gossip or your picture in a mug shot can alert your employer and coworkers to your charge. If you are asked directly by your employer whether you have been arrested or charged, it may be best not to lie. Again, consulting with an attorney can help give you a sense of the best ways to proceed in your specific situation. Do I Need to Disclose a DUI When Applying for a Job? Many employers will run a background and criminal check before making a job offer anyway. If your DUI conviction is on your record, they will likely see it. In addition, some employers may ask questions about previous convictions, arrests or other issues. If you are asked these types of questions, it is important to review them carefully. If you are asked whether you have ever been convicted of a crime, for example, but you have never been convicted or the case is still before the courts, you can honestly answer “no.” It is not a crime to avoid listing a DUI on a job application, but it can hurt your prospects to lie if you are asked specifically about DUIs, arrests or convictions. Getting Support It can be daunting to face a DUI charge, arrest or conviction. If you...

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I Got a DUI While Underage: Will It Stay on My Record as an Adult?

Posted by on May 24, 2016 in Criminal Law, DUI | 0 comments

I Got a DUI While Underage: Will It Stay on My Record as an Adult?

Getting a DUI when under 21 years of age is not difficult in Pennsylvania. The state has very strict laws that make it illegal for drivers under the age of 21 to have any alcohol in their system. You can be charged with underage DUI even if your blood alcohol level is well below 0.80 — the legal limit for adults. If you have been drinking at all, you may be charged with a DUI – in fact, even cough syrup containing alcohol could be enough to get you a DUI charge. Unfortunately, mistakes you make when you’re young can stay with you and even remain on your record as an adult. It’s important to act quickly if you are under the age of 21 years old and have been charged with a DUI. If a DUI charge is still on your record as an adult, there are steps you can take to minimize the damage. Get Underage DUI Representation >> What Kinds of Penalties Might I Face for an Underage DUI? In Pennsylvania, penalties are strict. You will generally face an automatic driver’s license suspension of at least six months. The other punishments you may face may depend on your age. If you are under the age of 18 and are charged with a DUI, you will be charged under Pennsylvania Juvenile Act, and you may be asked to pay a fine, serve probation or even be sent to an institution for juvenile offenders. If you’re under 21 but over 18 when you’re charged with a DUI, for a first offense, you will get an automatic prison term of at least 48 hours. You will also need to pay fines of between $500 and $5,000. The sentencing judge in your case may impose alcohol treatment or drug treatment requirements, and you may have to attend a safety school or classes as well. In addition, you may be asked to serve no more than 150 hours of community service. For subsequent convictions, the penalties will be even stricter. How Will My Adult Life Be Affected If I Got a DUI When I Was 17? If you are charged with a DUI as a minor, your penalties will not end when you finish community service, jail time or the other penalties meted out to you. Instead, you may find your adult life is significantly affected by an underage DUI you got when you were 16, 17, 18 or older. Your DUI may mean: You lose out on scholarships You lose friends, or your relationship with family is strained You have a hard time securing loans You have a hard time getting apartments Your job prospects are more limited Any time someone runs a background check on you for employment or other purposes, they may see that DUI charge — even if it happened long ago. What Can Be Done About My Underage DUI? If you have just been arrested and charged for underage DUI, contact MPL Law for a consultation. We can work to minimize the impact on your life and get your sentence reduced. In some cases, it may even be possible to get probation before judgment. This is where a judge essentially gives you a second chance and no permanent mark appears on your record. If your underage DUI happened some time ago and is on your permanent record, there may be options available for you as well. For example, you may want to consider expunging your record, which will erase the DUI from your record. The attorneys at MPL Law can advise you as to whether this...

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Preventing Teen Drug Abuse

Posted by on Apr 28, 2016 in Criminal Law, DUI | 0 comments

Preventing Teen Drug Abuse

It’s a parent’s worst nightmare: a child who abuses drugs, putting their health and future at risk. Most parents understand the many risks of drug abuse. It can lead to overdoses, lost opportunities at school and criminal charges. In the most tragic circumstances, it leads to fatalities. How to Prevent Youth Drug Abuse Preventing drug abuse starts by understanding which teens are at risk. Your teen may be at risk if: They spend time with friends who use drugs themselves They are impulsive They have mental health problems or health conditions There is a history of addiction in the family They lack positive adult role models They are at a transitioning stage of their lives — for example, they are changing schools or going through puberty They suffer from low self-esteem or have a hard time making friends They have a history of trauma, such as past abuse Knowing the risks means you understand when you need to take extra steps to protect your teen. At the same time, keep in mind even teens without these risk factors will sometimes experiment or even become addicted. What You Can Do If you have teens, there are several ways you can prevent drug abuse and addiction: 1) Set rules. Set rules about drug use and other types of behavior. For example, you may have a rule about not driving with someone who has been taking drugs or drinking alcohol. Have consequences in place if these rules are broken. 2) Know what your teens are doing and who their friends are. Your children are more likely to abuse drugs or try hard drugs if they spend time with teens who are involved with drugs themselves. 3) Know the signs of drug addiction. If your teen suddenly exhibits changed behaviors, falling grades, mood swings or sleep disorders, be concerned. If your child completely changes their peer or friend group and struggles with maintaining relationships, suggest family counseling or a trip to the doctor. 4) Talk to your teen about drugs. Sit down and have more than one discussion about drugs. Talk to your teens about the effects of drugs on the activities that matter to them — sports, friends and favorite hobbies. In the past, parents would sometimes use scare tactics, but today doctors recommend a frank and open discussion about the dangers of drugs instead. Don’t forget to talk about the way drugs appear on television and in movies. In many cases, teens get mixed messages about narcotics. On the one hand, they may be told they are dangerous, but on the other hand, they may see them used without huge consequences on their favorite shows or in movies. Talk to them about why drugs are used as a plot device. Since, in many cases, friends offer teens drugs, discuss how to handle peer pressure with your teen. Have your child come up with ways they can resist peer pressure if it arises. 5) Ask your teenager what they think about drugs. Many well-intentioned parents turn discussions of drugs into lectures. Make sure you ask your teen what they think about drugs and prepare for a frank discussion. Your teen may have questions or concerns you can address. Listen to your child. 6) Know how to prevent teen prescription drug abuse. Parents sometimes think narcotics are the main concern, but teens can also abuse and become addicted to prescription drugs. Keep track of the amount of prescription drugs in your home. If your teen needs to take prescription medicine for an injury, make sure they understand how to safely use the medicine...

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Craft Beer and the Changing Face of DUI

Posted by on Dec 28, 2015 in Criminal Law, DUI | 0 comments

Craft Beer and the Changing Face of DUI

In 2014, craft beer sales grew to $19.6 billion, an increase of 22% from the year before. While craft beer is changing the beer world and the palates of drinkers everywhere, it also threatens to change the face of drunk driving. In fact, craft beer and microbrews typically have an increased ABV (alcohol by volume). Since at least the 1800s, Americans have preferred lighter lagers and lighter beers with lower volumes of alcohol. Many craft beers, however, deliver a larger dose of alcohol – and drinkers may not be aware of the risks, making microbrew DUI accidents more likely. The Link Between Craft Beer and DUI The popularity of craft beer may mean beer drinkers are drinking high ABV beers more often, since craft beer ABV levels tend to be higher. An ABV of 5.9% is average for craft beer. Between 2011 and 2014, the number of new beers with 6.5 percent alcohol by volume or higher jumped by 319% in North America – in part because of the popularity of craft beers. The number of beers with 8% ABV or higher also jumped in this time period, possibly meaning a greater risk of high BAC DUI accidents. However, the increased ABV of craft beer is not the only culprit to this growing problem. Microbreweries and craft beer makers often host beer festivals and other beer events to promote their products. Drinking at these events and then deciding to drive home can easily lead to a crash. Unfortunately, some people may not think they are at risk of drunk driving with craft beer. Because these beers are made with fewer preservatives, drinkers may not always feel the effects of alcohol in the same way. In other cases, drinkers may associate drunk driving with traditional beers and may think they are at less risk with craft beers. Some drinkers also mistakenly believe craft beers are safer, more natural and even have lower amounts of alcohol. Learn More About DUI Defense > Are High BAC-Level DUI Crashes More Likely With Craft Beers? Just because you like to drink craft beer doesn’t necessarily mean you’re at a higher risk of DUI. While it’s true that craft beer ABV levels are higher than most traditional beers, many factors can contribute to blood alcohol levels and DUI crashes. In many cases, driver attitudes and choices – rather than just drinks — play a major role in DUI risk. Drivers who choose to drink craft beers can take alternate forms of transportation home. When drivers are serious about not drinking and driving and decide to consume less alcohol, they are less likely to cause a drunk driving accident. Planning ahead is also important if you want to avoid drunk driving accidents. If you plan on drinking craft beers, designate a driver, take a cab home or find other ways to avoid drunk driving. No matter what kind of alcohol you consume, refusing to drive is the best way to keep yourself and other motorists safe. Are You at Risk? To see how easy it is to step over the blood alcohol limit with craft beer, it can be helpful to use a tool such as this online blood alcohol content calculator. It can help you estimate how many drinks you can consume before you’re over the limit. If you like to drink high ABV beer, you can use this to get a general estimate of your limits. However, don’t rely on the online calculator alone. Several factors can contribute to how much you can drink before you’re over the blood alcohol limit. Your weight and...

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