In a tragic story reported by the Associated Press in the New York Post, we learned about the deaths of three young people in a traffic accident in Bethel Park near Pittsburgh this month. According to the story, three young women were in an SUV when it collided with a utility pole on Library Road.
Tragically, the driver, a 21-year old single mother, and two passengers (ages 23 and 17) were killed in the crash. A fourth passenger, a 21-year-old female, was thrown from the SUV and was transported to a Pittsburgh hospital where she remained in critical condition.
When you hear of a driver charged with DUI or driving under the influence, you assume that the driver was drunk. However, while driving under the influence of alcohol is common, driving under the influence of marijuana is also become a growing problem in Pennsylvania and throughout the United States.
DUI laws in Pennsylvania prohibit drivers from operating vehicles under the influence of alcohol OR controlled substances, including marijuana. This is the case whether you are driving “while impaired” or “under the influence” of marijuana. In either case, you are breaking the law because marijuana use is still illegal in Pennsylvania.
Underage drinking is a serious problem throughout the United States. Even with the increase of educational programs and PSAs, there are still a large number of teenagers who drink alcohol. According to information provided by SADD, 26.4 percent of young people between the ages of 12 and 20 years reported using alcohol within the past 30 days.
Almost 18 percent of those report binge drinking. Almost three-quarters of high school students have used alcohol before graduation and a third of middle school student report consuming alcohol by eighth grade. Now, it appears that parents have another thing to worry about — alcohol delivered right to their door.
Most drivers have heard of reckless driving; however, some drivers don’t believe that reckless driving is a serious offense. The penalties for a reckless driving conviction can be serious. If you are intoxicated at the time of your arrest, you can be charged with ‘wet’ reckless driving. Is there a difference? Should you accept a wet reckless driving charge instead of a DUI charge? These are some of the questions that clients ask when they contact my office. Below is a brief summary of what I tell my clients when they come in for their consultation.
Reckless Driving in Pennsylvania
Under Pennsylvania law, a driver can be charged with reckless driving when the driver operates a vehicle in “willful or wanton disregard” for the safety of other people or property. The statute is intended to punish drivers who place other people in jeopardy because of the way they are driving. Examples of reckless driving include drag racing, driving the wrong way, and excessive speed.
Penalties for reckless driving includes a minimum fine of $200, points on your driver’s license, up to 90 days in jail, and suspension of your license for six months. In addition, if you cause an injury, the minimum fine is increased to $1,000. For a reckless charge resulting in death, the fine increases to $25,000 and minimum jail time can be up to 12 months.
Wet Reckless Driving in Pennsylvania
If you are impaired by alcohol at the time of your traffic stop, you can be charged with wet reckless driving. An alcohol-related reckless driving charge carries the same penalties as a reckless driving conviction with one addition. If convicted of a wet reckless driving, you must complete an alcohol education or treatment plan.
Wet Reckless Driving vs. DUI Charges
If you have the opportunity to accept the lesser charge of wet reckless driving, you should discuss the matter with your Edinboro DUI attorney. Pleading guilty to a wet reckless driving charge usually carries less severe penalties than a normal DUI charge. However, there are many factors that a prosecutor will consider before agreeing to accept a plea to wet reckless driving instead o f a DUI charge.
As with all DUI charges, you must take a wet reckless driving charge seriously. The penalties can restrict your ability to get to school or work. You can fact increased insurance rates and be required to complete alcohol treatment plans. Hiring an experienced Edinboro DUI attorney is your first step in protecting your legal rights. Remember, any criminal charge is not a conviction. You should discuss your situation with an experienced criminal defense attorney before accepting any plea.
Call an Edinboro DUI Defense Attorney for Help
If you have been charged with reckless driving or driving under the influence, contact our office immediately. Call The Travis Law Firm toll free at (800) 401-2066 to schedule a free legal consultation with one of our attorneys.
With Memorial Day right around the corner, the unofficial beginning of summer will mean more people out on the lakes and waterways enjoying the weather in boats. Unfortunately, many boaters will mix alcohol and boating. For those who are caught drinking and boating, they face serious penalties under Pennsylvania’s boating under the influence laws.
Memorial Day Weekend is the unofficial kickoff to the summer vacation season. Erie and the surrounding areas have plenty of holiday events and activities to keep you busy. However, if you are traveling for the holiday weekend, you need to beware that with the increase in traffic, you increase of being involved in a car crash also increases. Even if you are just traveling across town, you need to be very careful on the roads over the holiday weekend.
Below are several tips from our Erie DUI defense attorney to help keep you legal and safe over Memorial Day Weekend.
A News Release by the Governor’s Highway Safety Association (GHSA) last week stated that a comprehensive update of the 2015 report Drug-Impaired Driving: A Guide for States was being released. The report provides data, research, and other information to help states and policymakers deal with drug-impaired driving. The report has updated data on drug use by drivers, new state laws, programs, drug-related crashes, and research from more than 30 other sources.
According to the News Release, drug-impaired driving has surpassed drunk driving in fatal accidents. In 2015, 43 percent of drivers killed had drugs in their system; this number exceeds the number of drunk drivers killed in accidents during that year.
If you enjoy consuming alcohol on occasion or even on a regular basis, you may have heard a lot of stories about how to avoid getting drunk. Many of these stories are myths. While it is certainly okay to enjoy alcohol, it is not okay to get behind the wheel of a vehicle after drinking. The penalties you face from a DUI conviction in Pennsylvania are steep and go far beyond a simple fine. Below are four of the myths about alcohol consumption. Do you know which ones are myths and which ones are true?
“But I was not driving! I was only a passenger in a car when I was drinking, and I was charged with a crime. How can I be charged with a crime if I was not drinking and driving?”
Does this sound familiar? You may assume that charges related to alcohol are only applicable to the driver of the vehicle, but that is an incorrect and potentially harmful assumption.
While nothing is currently pending before Pennsylvania lawmakers, they may be watching Utah’s lawmakers very closely. In fact, many states may be watching Utah very closely right now. Utah is set to become one of the toughest states on DUIs with a new law that lawmakers passed last week.
According to the Associated Press, Utah lawmakers passed a new law that lowers the legal limit for blood alcohol content from .08 percent to .05 percent. The bill is headed to the governor’s desk and is expected to be signed into law. If Gov. Gary Herbert signs the bill, the law will become effective on December 30, 2018, just in time for New Year’s Eve.