Recently in DUI News Category

November 16, 2011

Former Delaware County Assistant District Attorney involved in Hit & Run

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 "Former Delaware County Assistant District Attorney involved in Hit & Run" »

June 5, 2011

Are You Eligible for a DUI Retrial in Philadelphia Because of an Improperly Calibrated Breathalyzer Machine?

Were you recently arrested for driving while under the influence? Human error in calibrating Breathalyzer machines in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania during 2009-2010 led to incorrect blood alcohol concentration (BAC) readings that may affect thousands of cases in the city. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, an internal review by the District Attorney's office found that four of eight police Breathalyzers were not properly calibrated, affecting over 2000 DUI cases between September 2009 and November 2010. Instigated by a criminal defense attorney who questioned the accuracy of the breathalyzer readings used in the prosecution of his client's case, the investigation by the Philadelphia DA's office revealed problems that threaten to compound Philadelphia's already severe problems with trial backlogs as cases are retried. Moreover, the cost of judgments or settlements in suits from those who were jailed on the basis of the faulty evidence from the improperly calibrated machines could end up hurting the city financially at a time when it can least afford it. See also the ABC news report on this topic.

Continue reading "Are You Eligible for a DUI Retrial in Philadelphia Because of an Improperly Calibrated Breathalyzer Machine?" »

June 15, 2010

PA DUI: Impairment Starts with the Prescription Drug

Anyone who is familiar with recent advertising campaigns against drunk driving has heard the phrase, "impairment begins with the first drink." However, impairment doesn't necessarily have to involve the consumption of alcohol. Section 3802 (d)(2) of the Pennsylvania Vehicle Code deals specifically with individuals who are under the influence of a controlled substance. It states, "Individuals may not operate a vehicle if they are under the influence of a drug or combination of drugs that impairs their ability to safely drive."

Controlled substances can range from illegal drugs such as marijuana, cocaine and methamphetamine to prescribed narcotic pain medication such as Codeine, Percocet and Vicodine. The side effects of these pain medications when taken at high dosage combined with operating a vehicle can some times result in DUI charges. A recent case originating in Delaware County resulted in a DUI conviction when the defendant operated a vehicle over three hours after taking prescription Valium and Percocet with codeine. The Court said evidence that the defendant was driving erratically, had constricted pupils, was unsteady on their feet after the traffic stop and had the appearance of confusion was enough to show that the drugs impaired his ability to safely operate his vehicle.

Continue reading "PA DUI: Impairment Starts with the Prescription Drug" »

June 13, 2010

Other Motorists May Be Doing the Police's Job in DUI Reports in Pennsylvania

One of the many reasons people who are charged with a DUI are pulled over in the first place is because of some sort of erratic driving. This can be the casual "roll through a stop sign" or crossing over a double yellow line a few times over the course of a mile. This sort of erratic driving is one of the principal indications that police look for when making a DUI traffic stop. This sort of driving however doesn't necessarily need to be witnessed by a police officer in order for you to be arrested for DUI. In Pennsylvania a fellow driver who identifies themselves to police may report the kind of erratic driving normally associated with those who are operating a vehicle while intoxicated. Their report to police will provide sufficient probable cause for the police to make a traffic stop which may then lead to a DUI.

In a recent case out of Butler County Pennsylvania, police officers received a 911 dispatch call advising them that a named motorist had observed a driver almost hit a wall of a bridge, run a stop sign and drive onto a sidewalk. Officers received the driver's registration number and location from the motorist, caught up to the driver and while they did not observe any bad driving still had a reasonable suspicion to pull the driver over. The Pennsylvania Superior Court upheld the legality of the traffic stop, saying that the police acting on a tip from a named motorist was Constitutional.

Continue reading "Other Motorists May Be Doing the Police's Job in DUI Reports in Pennsylvania" »

June 2, 2010

Social Networking Sites Create Serious Problems for DUI Defendants in Pennsylvania

As a former Prosecutor I have first hand experience that the easiest defendants to prosecute are the ones that talk to police and provide a confession. As a criminal defense attorney my job is to make sure that my clients reveal no information to the police and the prosecution to avoid incriminating themselves for trial. However, with the increasing popularity of social networking sites such as Facebook, MySpace and Twitter, this job has been made significantly more difficult. I have seen many cases in the media and in courthouses around the Philly metro area where facebook and myspace posts have led to arrests and convictions.

Recent criminal proceedings in and around Philadelphia serve as an example of how social networking can affect even DUI defenses. Joseph Genovese Jr. recently received national attention after he ran over two St. Louis Cardinals fans outside of Citizen's Bank Ball Park in Philadelphia, killing one and seriously injuring another.

Continue reading "Social Networking Sites Create Serious Problems for DUI Defendants in Pennsylvania" »