This past week my client faced three days in jail and one year license suspension for a first offense DUI charge that occurred on Route 1 in Chester County, PA. My client was traveling on Route 1, observing the speed limit when two Pennsylvania State Troopers pulled him over. The two officers were traveling in the same cruiser. When they followed my client, they claimed that my his license plate lights were out and that gave them probable cause to stop his vehicle. In Pennsylvania, a police officer must have reasonable suspicion that a violation of the motor vehicle code is occurring to stop a vehicle. This is commonly referred to as probable cause. If a police officer pulls over a vehicle and does NOT have probable cause to stop that vehicle, all the evidence that follows the illegal stop must be suppressed. Suppressed means the evidence gets thrown out. Attorneys will typically challenge probable cause for the stop in what is known as a pre-trial suppression hearing. In order to have a suppression hearing the attorney must file a pre-trial motion to suppress the evidence within 30 days of arraignment.
This case was a huge victory for the Antoine law firm. On Thursday night, November 13th after deliberating several hours, the jury returned a not guilty verdict to the charge of Driving Under the Influence. A conviction would have been a 5th offense for the Defendant and carried mandatory jail time and additional time for probation violations. The Defendant was on probation for multiple DUI offenses in other counties.
The Aston Police alleged that the Defendant was too drunk to drive his vehicle safely. They said he was so intoxicated that he blew through a stop sign, had strong odor of alcohol, could not stand on one leg, could not count backwards properly, and had a “half empty” bottle of Red Stag Bourbon in the rear of the vehicle. The Defendant blew a .17% on a portable breath test (PBT).
In Media, Delaware County, Pennsylvania the ARD program is offered to certain first time DUI offenders that opt to be accepted into the program. The major benefit of ARD is that you or your attorney will be entitled to file an expungement petition once you complete all of the requirements of the program. This will result in your criminal record being expunged and destroyed if the court so orders. Click on the following link Delaware County ARD program to read my prior blog for more information on the benefits of the ARD program.
Moving forward, this blog will take you through the ARD process in Delaware County, PA from start to finish.
1. Post-Arrest: Preliminary Hearing Paperwork will be Mailed to you by the District Court – after you are arrested and charged with a first offense DUI in Delaware County, Pennsylvania, paperwork will be sent to your house from the District Court that retains jurisdiction over you. After you are arrested, the Magisterial District Court will send you two letters: one certified and one by regular first class mail. Both of the letters are duplicates and contain the same information. Enclosed in your letters will be three items. The first is called a “Police Criminal Complaint.” This document contains the caption of the case, identifies you as the defendant and designates which crimes you are being charged with along with other information. The second item is called the “Affidavit of Probable Cause.” The Affidavit of Probable Cause is a brief recitation of the facts which occurred in your case as written by the police officer. The third item in your letters will be a scheduling notice. The scheduling notice will let you know the time and place of your preliminary hearing. The preliminary hearing will be heard before a Magisterial District Judge. The court may also mail you a fingerprint order, ordering you to report to the police department where you were arrested to be fingerprinted, if you were not fingerprinted on the night of the offense.
Please be patient. If you have been arrested for a DUI, these items may take a few weeks to get out to you. I have even seen it take months for clients to get their paperwork. However, if you have been arrested for a DUI in Delaware County, Pennsylvania, rest assured, you will receive these items in the mail. After you have been arrested I recommend that you hire an attorney at your earliest convenience to avoid any complications with the case. Jason R. Antoine, Esquire, Pennsylvania ARD DUI lawyer can be reached for free DUI advice at (610) 299-0295. Continue reading
Michael Donahue, a former Delaware County Assistant District Attorney was arrested Monday, November 14 and charged with aggravated assault, accident involving death or personal injury, recklessly endangering another person and other crimes. Mr. Donahue was charged as being the driver of the car who struck a 14 year old boy who was walking with three of his friend across Township Line Road in Upper Darby on November 4, 2011. The boy was struck violently, the skateboard he was carrying was split in two. According to witnesses, Mr. Donahue left the scene. The victim was taken to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia where he suffered a brain bleed, two hip fractures and several lacerations. Since the date of the accident the victim was released and has been given a good prognosis.
On the night of November 4th, he decided to end his week with friends at a local bar/restaurant in Media. According to court documents, Mr. Donahue left the bar/restaurant around 9:00 p.m. alone and drove to meet a friend to pick up food. He then met friends at a local firehouse in Haverford to eat with them and then left with a friend and drove to another firehouse in Upper Darby. Mr. Donahue then returned to the Haverford firehouse to drop off his friend. Around 10:15 p.m., Mr. Donahue left the firehouse alone and called his friend to let him know he was driving back to Upper Darby. Unfortunately, while Mr. Donahue was talking to his friend on his cell phone, the friend heard him say a curse word then seconds after that a beeping sound, like a car door was opened while still running. Then the phone went dead. Continue reading