Teen Arrested For DUI After Dad The Designated Driver Bails

teen designated driverWhat do you do when you’re out for the night, you need to get home, and the person who is supposed to the designated driver is drunker than you are? The right answer is ‘don’t drive,’ but there are a lot of people who would have no problem getting behind the wheel under those circumstances.

Take a 14 year old boy in Pennsylvania for example. Despite the fact that he’s too young to have a driver’s license and too young to be legally drinking alcohol, the teen was driving drunk with his father in the passenger seat. It’s bad enough that the teen’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was .106 percent, but his father, the man supposed to driving, topped him with a BAC of 0.26.

The father has been charged with child endangerment and corruption of a minor, and with his son facing a pending drunk driving charge, he may want to familiarize himself with the new drunk driving laws in Pennsylvania.

The Governor of the state has recently signed a new law making it mandatory that all first time drunk driving offenders install an ignition interlock in any vehicle they drive. Because Pennsylvania has three tiers for drunk driving, the new law will follow those tiers. That means that someone convicted of the lowest tier with a BAC of .08 to .099 will not need an ignition interlock. Only those convicted of second and third tiers will be required to install one.

The law won’t take effect until August of 2017, but it can’t come a moment too soon for Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania DUI Association shared data showing that 53,000 potential drunk drivers attempted to start their ignition interlock equipped vehicles in 2015, and thanks to the device, they couldn’t drive while drunk. With ignition interlocks required for all offenders, many more drunk drivers will be stopped.

There could be another good byproduct of the new ignition interlock law: maybe with a first offender ignition interlock law on the books someone supposed to be the designated driver will take his or her responsibilities seriously. If they do, maybe a 14 year old, someone without a drivers license and not legally able to drink alcohol, won’t be tempted to drive drunk.

Pennsylvania New Ignition Interlock Law Includes First Offenders

Pennsylvania ignition interlockIt’s official: the state of Pennsylvania is the proud owner of a brand new ignition interlock law. Thanks to a bill signed into law by Governor Tom Wolf on May 25th, first time driving under the influence (DUI) offenders with high blood alcohol concentrations (BAC) will be eligible for the Pennsylvania ignition interlock program.

The new law stipulates that any first time drunk driver with a BAC between .10 to .15 percent will not have their driver’s license suspended for one year if they apply for an ignition interlock license. They’d be required to drive with the interlock for one year, and if they were stopped driving without it they’d face further penalties. Prior to this new bill, ignition interlocks were only required as a penalty for repeat offenders.

The law won’t take effect for another 15 months, but it can’t come a moment too soon. Pennsylvania State Police just announced they have seen an increase in DUI arrests for 2015. With 18,801 arrests, the state is up 6.2 percent over 2014. DUI drug arrests were up too, with an increase of 43 percent over 2014.

Although this law is a good step in the right direction, Pennsylvania lawmakers may want to investigate an all offender ignition interlock law similar to that passed in other states. By making it mandatory that first time offenders with BAC of .08 install the devices, you reduce the likelihood that the person will drink and drive again. There are currently 26 states with all offender laws on the books and these states have seen a steady decrease in drunk driving deaths.

15 months is a long time to wait to crack down on drunk drivers, but the pending change sends a strong message to anyone who drinks and drive. Maybe just the idea that ignition interlocks will soon be available to first offenders will be enough to slow down the tide of intoxicated drivers in the state.

Stop Me If You’ve Heard This One: Crazy Drunk Driving Cases

crazy drunk driving There’s a reason why people use the saying, ‘there must be something in the water.’ It usually describes a situation where a bunch of people perform the same action despite the fact that the action in question seems crazy. That’s what its like to see crazy drunk driving case after case pop up on the news every day.

Despite proof that drunk driving is dangerous and can result in the death of the driver or anyone on the road with him or her, people still continue to get behind the wheel drunk. And when they make that choice, crazy situations can happen.

Here’s two crazy drunk driving cases from the past week that will make you scratch your head.

Philadelphia nun convicted of drunk driving

New Jersey nun Sister Kimberly Miller was convicted of drunk driving after she admitted to having an Ambien and a glass of wine, but she doesn’t remember crashing her car. She was arrested in November of 2015 when she drove her vehicle into an auto repair shop, and although police said her blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was twice the legal limit, her blood test wasn’t admissible in court. For her crime of drunk driving in Philadelphia, Sister Miller received a 90-day driver’s license suspension and over $200 in fines.

Former teacher of the year drives drunk

Anne Murphy may have been a teacher of the year in 2014, but that didn’t stop her from drunk driving in Florida recently. She was arrested for suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI) after cruising down the sidewalk in her car, and she was arrested with a BAC of .21.

Murphy failed sobriety tests and admitted to drinking 3 glasses of champagne. She was booked for misdemeanor DUI with a BAC over .15. In Florida that may mean fines up to $1,000, jail time for 270 days, and an ignition interlock in any vehicle she drives.

Those are just two unusual drunk driving cases from the past week, and unfortunately there are many more popping up every day. It makes you wonder how long it will be before people get the message that drinking and driving, even after one drink, is a really bad idea.

 

 

Pennsylvania Should Pass An All Offender Ignition Interlock Law

Pennsylvania ignition interlock lawIgnition interlock use is growing, and 23 states now require ignition interlocks for every driving under the influence (DUI) offense. Some states are almost there: California does have an all offender ignition interlock pilot program on the books for four counties, and Colorado and Maine have incentives for first offenders to install the device.

With almost half of the states in the nation on board with ignition interlocks, the states that simply don’t use them are running out of excuses. Take Pennsylvania for example: an ignition interlock is required for a first offender if he or she refuses to submit to a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) test upon arrest. A judge can also require the device for a first offender, but it’s not mandatory.

A first offender also isn’t required to spend any time in jail and will only pay a fine of $300 in Pennsylvania, the cost equivalent of some traffic tickets, there really isn’t much incentive not to drink and drive. Put that together with the fact that a first time offender isn’t even required to lose his or her driver’s license for any length of time after a DUI conviction and you have a recipe for disaster.

If Pennsylvania needs an example of how to stop drunk drivers, they should take a look at the push for ignition interlocks going on in Maryland right now. After Officer Noah Leotta was hit and killed by a drunk driver during a routine traffic stop, Maryland has jumped on board and pulled out the stops to push an all offender ignition interlock law through. With support from MADD and the Governor, the proposed law has pushed through the House and is on the way to the Senate for approval.

Ignition interlocks are the only way to stop a drunk driver from driving again, and it’s time to bring them to all offenders in Pennsylvania.

Study Shows Drop In Deaths Thanks To Ignition Interlocks

university of pennsylvania study ignition interlocksThe proof is out there: ignition interlocks are saving lives and stopping drunk drivers from getting behind the wheel and killing innocent people. A recently released report by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) highlighted how 1.77 million people were unable to start their vehicles while drunk thanks to ignition interlocks, and now a study has come out of the University of Pennsylvania supporting the devices and recommending all convicted drunk drivers use them.

The study was done to understand whether or not states with driving under the influence (DUI) laws requiring ignition interlocks have helped reduce alcohol-related deaths. The researchers requested the data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and they examined alcohol-related deaths in 18 states that required ignition interlocks for all offenders. With that data in hand, they compared that number to the amount of alcohol-related deaths in states that didn’t have all offender ignition interlock laws.

At the end of the study they found that ignition interlocks have saved over 900 people between 2007 and 2013. Broken down, that’s 1 person saved for every 125,000 each year. If you want a comparison to other vehicle safety measures, there was only 1 person saved out of 110,000 when airbags became mandatory.

The study concluded that only 30% of people convicted of drunk driving were using ignition interlocks, and they recommended that in order to save the most lives, all states should enact an all offender law.

When you take this study and the MADD report together, you see a strong wave of support for ignition interlocks across the board, and it’s easy to see that they are the only proven way to stop a drunk driver from making the decision to start the car and drive away after drinking. Because first offenders often turn into repeat offenders, stopping them before they choose to drink and drive again is vital to stopping drunk driving altogether.

Fire Fighters Killed By Drunk Drivers Honored With Blood Drive

firefighters-killed-drunk-driversHonoring the victims of drunk drivers is a difficult task for the people left behind. But when two Pennsylvania firefighters were killed in separate drunk driving incidents, the families came together for an American Red Cross blood drive in their honor.

In 2008 volunteer firefighter Zachary Sweitzer lost his life when he was struck by a drunk driver on Thanksgiving day. He volunteered with the Loganville Fire Department, the same department where Fire Chief Rodney Miller worked before he was killed by a drunk driver in April of 2013. He was working at the time, and the individual who struck him thought he had hit a deer as he exited an off ramp. At the time of arrest, the offender had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .118.

Because both men were tissue donors, they’ve been honored for saving lives before and after their deaths. The family of Sweitzer began hosting blood drives after he died in 2008, and Miller attended those drives until he was killed by a drunk driver as well.

It’s tragic when the public servants are killed by drunk drivers in the prime of their lives, and these crashes are a good indicator that it’s time for the state of Pennsylvania to crack down on their drunk driving problem. Out of 51 states, Pennsylvania ranks 49th on the list of most lenient drunk driving laws.

If you’re a first offender in the state there is no jail time, a small $300 fine, no drivers license suspension, and you’ll only be required to install an ignition interlock device if you refuse to submit to a chemical test. With laws that lenient, there’s no real deterrent for drinking and driving.

To really honor these Pennsylvania firefighters and other victims of drunk driving, the state needs to step up and change their drunk driving laws. Until they do, more people will be killed and more families will struggle to honor a loved one lost to drunk driving.

Drunk Driver Runs Over Police Officer In Pennsylvania

drunk-driver-pennsylvania

Photo from pennlive.com

Sometimes hockey fans get a little overzealous. Whether their team wins or loses, there is a passion involved with hockey teams that can make a normal evening out turn into something crazy. And if you add alcohol to that mix? You get an incident with a drunk driver like the one that just happened in Pennsylvania.

After a Pittsburgh Penguins hockey game, a 27-year-old woman allegedly got behind the wheel after drinking and began driving wildly. She hit a police officer in the parkade, then while exiting the structure she hit a light pole that came crashing down onto another drivers car. That’s when another police officer fired a shot at her to stop her, and she hit a second light pole before she came to a stop. A witness said she attempted to leave the scene.

According to the drunk driver, she didn’t realize she hit the police officer and only had two beer at the game. She was arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) in Pennsylvania, aggravated assault by vehicle with driving under the influence, and reckless endangerment.

Arraigned the day after her wild drive, the drivers bond was set for $50,000 cash.

Given the set of charges it’s a unique case, but suffice to say she probably won’t be treated to the fairly lenient Pennsylvania DUI penalties for a first time offender. First offenders in Pennsylvania have no jail time, pay only $300 in fines, don’t receive a drivers license suspension, and are not required to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicle.

Yes, hockey games can fuel a lot of emotion in the people who are watching them, and adding alcohol to that emotion is just like adding fuel to a fire. This driver is in a lot of trouble for her drunken, wild drive, and it’s a good reminder that everyone who goes to these games should appoint a sober driver or avoid alcohol completely.

Life After A DUI In Pennsylvania

Life-After-DUI-PennsylvaniaPennsylvania has what’s known as DUI grading, otherwise known as a sliding scale for anyone convicted of driving under the influence (DUI). That grading scale means that when you’re stopped for suspicion of DUI in Pennsylvania, you’re going to hope your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) isn’t high enough to take you from the slight penalties to severe.

Here’s a look at life after a DUI in Pennsylvania

Imagine you’re out for the night and you have a few drinks with friends. You feel sober enough to drive, so you get behind the wheel and head for home, only to see flashing lights in your rear view mirror.

This is the point where your BAC is really going to make a difference, because to confirm his or her suspicions, a police officer will ask you to submit to a breathalyzer. Because Pennsylvania has an implied consent law, if you refuse you’ll receive a one-year drivers license suspension.

You blow into the breathalyzer and your BAC reading comes up. If it’s between .08 to .099% and you haven’t crashed and injured or killed anyone, had a minor in your vehicle along for the ride, or have a previous DUI offense on record, you’ll be subject to the first tier of DUI penalties. Your charge will be an ungraded misdemeanor and you’ll receive a mandatory six months of probation, $300 in fines, and no drivers license suspension of any kind.

If your BAC registers from .10 to .15.9% or you’ve injured or killed someone with a BAC under .10, you’ll receive an ungraded misdemeanor, jail time of 48 hours to 6 months, fines up to $5,000, and a drivers license suspension of 12 months.

For those who have made the mistake of drinking and driving with a BAC that’s double the legal limit of .08, registering .16 and over on a breathalyzer, you’re in a for a rough road. A first offender with a BAC of .16 and over will receive jail time from 72 hours up to 6 months, fines up to $5,000, and a drivers license suspension of 12 months.

This is just what you can expect your penalties to be if you’re a first offender in Pennsylvania. If this is your second DUI, you can add a few penalties to your list including a mandatory ignition interlock installation in any vehicle you drive.

Stay safe in Pennsylvania and don’t drink and drive. That way you’ll never know what life’s like after a Pennsylvania DUI.

This Week In Crazy DUI Stories: Drunk And Hiding Out On The Barn Roof

dui-pennsylvania-naked-barn-roofThere are a lot of known side effects to drinking alcohol. It can affect your hand/eye coordination, your vision, and even your good judgement, and if you drink enough of it, you could end up in a situation that will have you wondering ‘what was I thinking?’ for the rest of your life. For one Pennsylvania man who was found hanging out on a roof of a barn, that’s exactly what happened.

Daquan Tate was driving under the influence in Pennsylvania, and he lost control and crashed into a speed limit sign and a roadside mailbox. That didn’t stop him though, because he kept driving until he hit an embankment and allegedly decided to ditch his car and flee the scene of his crash.

Police were on their way and looking for the offender, and when they found him he was perched on the roof a barn. If that’s not enough, the man was also completely naked, and he soon after he fell off.

Depending on whether or not he has a previous Pennsylvania DUI on record, the penalties Tate will face vary. Pennsylvania is a state with penalty tiers, so depending on what his blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was at the time of arrest, he’ll be charged on BAC levels of .08, .10 to .159, or .16 or higher.

As a first offender with .08 – .99 BAC, he’ll only be fined $300 and receive six months probation. If his BAC was between .10 and .159, he’ll receive anywhere from 2 days to six months in prison, $500 to $5,000 in fines, and a 12 month drivers license suspension. If he refused the breathalyzer test and he’s a first offender, he’ll also be required to install an ignition interlock in his vehicle.

This case is a classic example of not thinking while you’ve been drinking, and it’s a really good example of why people should never pick up the keys after they’ve had a glass or two of alcohol. If this man can end up naked on a barn after crashing his vehicle multiple times, what could happen to you if you drink and drive?

Teen Sets Up A DUI Checkpoint, Lands Himself In Hot Water

DUI-checkpointThere are a lot of crazy driving under the influence (DUI) stories out there, from people getting stopped for drinking and driving on tractors, snowmobiles, or golf carts to a grandmother arrested for DUI while wearing a bikini.

But one crazy DUI story really takes the ‘crazy’ part to the next level—a 19 year old teen in Somerset, Pennsylvania decided he was going to do his own DUI spot checks and he set up a drunk driving checkpoint on the side of a road at 4 am. Armed with road flares, a BB gun, handcuffs and a scanner, he was stopping drivers to check them for DUI. The really ironic thing is that he was drunk himself at the time. When real police officers arrived on the scene, they found the teen with blood shot eyes and slurred speech.

Trying to assist the police with road checks clearly doesn’t pay because he was arrested and has received 11 charges against him including driving under the influence, possession of an instrument of crime, impersonating a public servant, disorderly conduct, and public drunkenness. Because he couldn’t make bond, he’s waiting in jail for his preliminary hearing.

In Pennsylvania, new DUI laws may require minors to be subject to DUI penalties reserved for those with high blood alcohol concentrations (BAC), so the young man performing his own road check may receive a 12 month driver’s license suspension, 48 hours up to 6 months in prison, up to $5,000 in fines, and if ordered, a treatment program. He may also be eligible for the ignition interlock program at the discretion of the judge.

The moral of this crazy DUI story: leave the checkpoints to the police and if you’re so drunk that impersonating an officer seems like a good idea, call a cab to get home.

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