Most Pennsylvanians know that the laws that the state and federal government have put into place were enacted to protect the rights and safety of all who live in those jurisdictions. Family laws are in place to ensure that relationships are given their legal weight and so that children's needs are not lost during divorces and separations; contract laws are necessary to work out problems when challenges to agreements arise; criminal laws are enacted to deter crime and to punish those who have allegedly violated the laws.
When it comes to evaluating a person's level of intoxication, many Pennsylvanians think of the blood or breath-based tests that law enforcement officials may administer to learn of a person's blood alcohol concentration. A person's blood alcohol concentration, often shortened to BAC, is a number that indicates the amount of alcohol that is in a person's body. State laws are written with BAC in mind and with intoxicated driving charges generally applying when a driver's BAC reaches or exceeds .08.
In 2003, the legal blood alcohol limit in Pennsylvania was lowered from .10 to .08. The law also created tiers for punishment and treatment regarding driving under the influence (DUI.) It takes into account a Defendant's DUI offense history, rather than simply applying an across the board sentence and license suspension or revocation.
Law enforcement and quotas is something that has been debated since the beginning of time it seems. Lehighton residents who are arrested for drunk driving may feel like law enforcement was out to get them. A new lawsuit alleges that Pennsylvania State Police troopers have a quota they need to meet each month for drinking and driving.
Many people who are caught driving under the suspicion of alcohol consumption are asked to take a field sobriety test when they are pulled over. Most are unaware that this test is voluntary, and a party is not required to consent to it. However, if a party chooses to refuse, he or she should do so respectfully. Acting aggressively or out of control gives an officer reasonable suspicion of intoxication, and therefore can lead to arrest.
Drunk driving laws, penalties and consequences vary by state but some penalties and consequences can generally be expected associated with DUI charges. For example, jail time, license suspension and fines are possible as a result of drunk driving accusations. There are two common components of a DUI charge including criminal penalties and administrative consequences.
Drunk driving has been a point of focus for legislatures, prosecutors and law enforcement on and off for 30 or more years now. Since the 1980s, the legal penalties for Driving Under the Influence or "DUI" have become stiffer and stiffer, even for a first offense. And, while protecting the public against dangerous drivers may be a laudable goal, overzealousness can sometimes creep in to such prosecutions and create a situation where a person's life can be ruined.
It seems like just yesterday that we were shoveling out from snow and welcoming in the spring season. Now we have the birthday of our country, the Fourth of July, next week. While the holiday means different things to different people, most Americans know how to celebrate in style. Throughout the country, Americans will be attending parades, watching fireworks and hosting barbeques among family and friends to celebrate the holiday.
As we have stated in previous posts, drunk driving remains a problem throughout the United States, including those living in and near the Lehighton, Pennsylvania area. While it is far easier for police to recognize speeders or those driving recklessly, one cannot necessarily tell if a driver is driving under the influence without an up close inspection. Often, a field sobriety test is conducted if an officer suspects someone of driving while drunk.