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           KNOW YOUR CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS:

          BLOOD ALCOHOL TESTS AND DUI CLAIMS

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Our Constitution is the bedrock of our legal system. It provides important protections against search and seizure.  The United States Supreme Court, in the leading case of Birchfield v. North Dakota, 136 S.Ct. 2160 (2016), recently expanded this protection to include your right to refuse blood alcohol tests and not be criminally charged for this refusal.

 

More specifically, the Supreme Court held that Pennsylvania, and other states, cannot criminally prosecute you for such a refusal.  Pennsylvania previously prosecuted such a refusal by applying the highest criminal penalty for DUI. Prior to the Birchfield decision, a Defendant who refused a blood alcohol test would be placed in the highest rate resulted in mandatory imprisonment of a minimum of one (1) year for a third offense.  Now, this is unconstitutional.

 

It is, of course, always important not to drink and drive.  Pennsylvania can still take away your driver’s license for one (1) year for such refusal.  Pennsylvania police can also get a warrant, but this is unlikely and usually would not be timely.  Also, if you voluntarily consent, then the police can obtain the blood test.  Further, you still may be prosecuted for a DUI; however, there would be no blood test evidence.  The criminal penalties you face if a blood test shows a high blood alcohol level can be life altering.  A blood alcohol level over .16 results in the most serious penalties.

 

We all make mistakes sometimes.  These don’t have to always be devastating.  Avoiding a blood alcohol test, or having a completed test thrown out by the courts, can help avoid serious consequences.

 

Our criminal defense lawyers are avid advocates of the Constitution and the protections it provides for all of us.  They can assist you with any criminal case with regard to any of your constitutional rights.  Our lawyers can examine any alleged voluntary consent to a blood test to determine if the consent was actually voluntary.  In addition, for DUI cases, they can help you quickly qualify for ARD or other reduced consequences.  With certain exceptions, an individual with a first offense DUI may be placed into the ARD program which would result in a maximum license suspension of sixty (60) days, no imprisonment, and, if the program is successfully completed, a dismissal of the charges combined with an expungement of the criminal record.

Everyone should be entitled to a second chance.

 

Please contact Ronald D. Amrhein, Jr. or John P. Corcoran, Jr. our criminal defense lawyers, at rda@jgcg.com, jpc@jgcg.com, or at (412) 261-6400, if you need legal assistance in these matters.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Superior Court Clarifies Owner Liability for Corporate Debts

Because of the Superior Court’s recent ruling in Mark Hershey Farms, Inc. v. Scott T. Robinson, et al., executives who aren’t company shareholders or other owners (such as members of a limited liability company), can never be held personally liable for a corporation’s debt, even if the executive’s behavior was reprehensible.

Act 171 Opens Doors to Minority, Women, and Veteran-Owned PA Businesses

With the federal government considering a huge infrastructure investment, Pennsylvania’s Act 171 business certification expansion will open a wide range of opportunities to our state’s minority, women, and veteran-owned businesses.

Whether new Fair Labor Standards Act overtime rules take effect in December 2016 or a recently passed House bill succeeds in delaying implementation until June 2017, start planning now to comply with the new regulations and protect your business.

Judge James Continues Stay on Landlord Registration Ordinance

On December 29, 2016, Judge James, “in the interest of judicial economy,” signed a court order stating that he won’t take action on Jones, Gregg’s pending case challenging that the City’s Landlord Registration Ordinance violates Pennsylvania’s Home Rule Charter...

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