Pre-charge Investigations . . . Do I need an attorney now?

West Chester Criminal Lawyer
West Chester Criminal Attorney

Every day in our society crimes are investigated by law enforcement officers and prosecutors. During the course of pre-charge investigations it is common for a police officer to attempt to speak to the “target” of the investigation. Other times, investigating grand juries may be utilized and subpoenas issued to require someone’s appearance before a grand jury. The Constitution states that no person shall be compelled to be a witness against himself in a criminal case. This is called the 5th Amendment privilege – and it needs to be protected.

When do I need to hire a criminal attorney?

Many individuals forget that an attorney isn’t only needed once someone is charged with a crime – often times it is critical to have counsel before charges are brought. The following list shows some of the benefits of having counsel when you believe or know that you are being investigated by law enforcement.

  •  It prevents the officers from speaking to the “target” directly – therefore, not providing law enforcement with any potentially incriminating statements.
  • It will allow for guided and thorough conversation about how one should act while being investigated. The tactics and tools that law enforcement use are wide ranging. An experienced criminal lawyer will be able to properly and completely inform the one being investigated on things to be aware of and how to protect your rights.
  • It will allow for you to properly being preparing your defense in the event that you are ultimately charged.  The earlier the better, as it is common for evidence to become harder to preserve with a longer delay.
  • It will prohibit others from attempting to speak to the target while acting on behalf of the government.
  • If an arrest is planned – it will allow your attorney time to speak to the government and agree on a turn-in date rather than being arrested when you are not expecting it.
  • In the event that cooperation with the government is the best strategy in your defense, your attorney can help to set up any communications with the government and ensure your rights are protected throughout the cooperation process.

This list is not exhaustive.  Pre-charge investigations can be drawn-out in time and incredibly involved.  If you believe you or a loved one may be the subject of one of these investigations it is a good decision to hire a criminal defense attorney to protect your interests and represent you through the process.

Contact West Chester Criminal Defense attorney Mike DiCindio to discuss your case today.

 


The above listed information does not include the entire crimes code, annotations, amendments or any recent changes that may be relevant.  The information provided is for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments.  These materials are not intended, and should not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances.  It is intended solely for informational purposes.

Michael DiCindio is a West Chester criminal defense lawyer who represents individuals accused of crimes throughout all of Chester County, including West Chester, Phoenixville, Malvern, Coatesville, Paoli, Downingtown, Tredyffrin, West Goshen, Honey Brook, Oxford, Devon, Pottstown, Chesterbrook, Parkesburg, Kennett Square, and Avondale.

 

I finished the ARD program, is my expungement finished too?

Many people who are charged with first offense DUI cases are accepted into the ARD program in the county in which they were arrested. While they may be aware of it, often times upon completion of the program, these individuals do not proceed to have the records expunged. In turn, they are left with records of their DUI arrest and entry into the ARD program on their criminal record. A successful expungement would erase that, leaving only limited agencies who are permitted to retain them.

Common occurrences – individuals either believe that the records of their ARD participation and completion were automatically expunged, or they believe their previous attorney expunged it for them. When often times neither is the case.

When Choosing a Criminal Defense Attorney
An expungement should be filed on DUI / ARD cases that are successfully completed.

The expungement procedure/process involves filing required documents, a petition and a proposed order with the Court. As a part of the proposed order, a list of agencies and departments is included. Usually including all of the Courts involved in the case, the central repository, the police departments involved and any other agencies that may have access to the records or case information. If the expungement is granted by the Court, the agencies will be sent the certified order and will be directed to expunge the records. (In some counties the clerk of courts sends the orders, in others the individual or his/her attorney does).   Depending on the Court dockets, the number of petitions submitted, and the procedure of the county in which the petition is filed, expungement orders may take many months to be presented to the Court and signed.  Making it crucial to prepare and file the expungement quickly after successful completion of the ARD program.

Expungement of an DUI ARD is something that should be taken seriously and followed through on. Any chance someone has to clear their criminal history of arrests or prosecutions will be beneficial to them in their future searches for employment, housing and many other vital portions of their life.

If you have an outstanding DUI ARD case that has yet to be expunged. Contact West Chester criminal lawyer Michael DiCindio to discuss your options today.


 

The above listed information does not include the entire crimes code, annotations, amendments or any recent changes that may be relevant.  The information provided is for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments.  These materials are not intended, and should not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances.  It is intended solely for informational purposes.

Michael DiCindio is a West Chester criminal defense lawyer who represents individuals accused of crimes throughout all of Chester County, including West Chester, Phoenixville, Malvern, Coatesville, Paoli, Downingtown, Tredyffrin, West Goshen, Honey Brook, Oxford, Devon, Pottstown, Chesterbrook, Parkesburg, Kennett Square, and Avondale.

But my doctor said . . .Controlled Substance and Drug DUI Cases in Pennsylvania

Many people commonly thing of DUI as “drunk driving” or “driving while intoxicated.” For many, that is solely associated with driving while under influence of alcohol. While alcohol related DUI offenses do make up a large portion of the DUI cases seen in the Pennsylvania criminal justice system – drug DUI charges also make up a large portion, and are commonly misunderstood. Further, prescription or not – many different drugs can lead to a DUI arrest and conviction. It is not just the “street” drugs like cocaine, marijuana and heroin that add to the DUI conviction rate.

In today’s culture, many people are prescribed controlled for a variety of ailments – some mental, some emotional and some physical. It is a common for individuals to not understand how a prescribe drug can lead to a DUI conviction.

Chester County criminal defense
Contact Chester County Criminal Lawyer Mike DiCindio to discuss your case today

Just because a doctor prescribed the drug, doesn’t mean it can’t lead to a drug DUI in Pennsylvania.

First, many of the drugs prescribed today are in fact drugs that may fit into the “schedules” or listing of drugs that may lead to a DUI.

Second, you need not always be “impaired” or “incapable of safely driving.” If there is enough of the drug in your system to meet the “per se” levels, the Commonwealth does not, under the law, need to prove impairment.

Third, when combined with alcohol or other drugs, the prescribed drug may impact an individual in a different way – beyond what was intended. This may lead to impairment due to the combination.

Finally, just because a doctor says “use caution when taking this drug” doesn’t mean that the levels may not rise to “per se” or cause you to be impaired.

If arrested for a drug DUI in Pennsylvania, it is important to have an experienced criminal defense and DUI attorney who will be able to analyze the levels of the drugs in your system, speak to your doctors if needed and begin to formulate a viable defense against the charges you are facing.

Contact Mike DiCindio to discuss your case today.


The above listed information does not include the entire crimes code, annotations, amendments or any recent changes that may be relevant.  The information provided is for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments.  These materials are not intended, and should not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances.  It is intended solely for informational purposes.

Michael DiCindio is a West Chester criminal defense lawyer who represents individuals accused of crimes throughout all of Chester County, including West Chester, Phoenixville, Malvern, Coatesville, Paoli, Downingtown, Tredyffrin, West Goshen, Honey Brook, Oxford, Devon, Pottstown, Chesterbrook, Parkesburg, Kennett Square, and Avondale.

DUI Refusal Suspensions . . . In addition to the DUI suspension?

West Chester DUI Lawyer
West Chester DUI Attorney Michael D. DiCindio, Esq.

Driving under the Influence (DUI) cases in Pennsylvania carry with them the possibility of harsh mandatory incarceration penalties, mandatory fines, and the added collateral civil consequence of license suspensions. When someone is arrested for DUI and is asked to submit to a chemical test of their blood or breath (which under the law they have “impliedly consented to”) they may choose to refuse chemical testing. In these DUI refusal cases, there is an added collateral consequence of another suspension for “refusing” in addition to the suspension that comes with the DUI conviction. Simply put, in DUI refusal cases, there are two suspensions. Further, the refusal suspension in no way is dependent upon the DUI conviction. Meaning, a person charged with DUI and who refused chemical testing may beat the DUI case by being found not guilty or otherwise, and still suffer a suspension for the refusal of chemical testing.

In these situations it is important to analyze the arguments that someone may have against the DUI charge as well as whether or not the refusal can be separately proven by PennDOT. If there are issues with the refusal, one has the option of appealing the suspension related to it and putting PennDOT to task. Other times, there may be no issue with the refusal, meaning a person may elect not to appeal or challenge the refusal suspension. Every circumstance and situation is different. But it is important for those in this situation to understand that the suspension for refusing chemical testing is not dependent or related to the DUI case.

An experienced DUI attorney should be consulted if you or a loved one is ever charged with a DUI or DUI refusal offense.

 


The above listed information does not include the entire crimes code, annotations, amendments or any recent changes that may be relevant.  The information provided is for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments.  These materials are not intended, and should not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances.  It is intended solely for informational purposes.

Michael DiCindio is a West Chester criminal defense lawyer who represents individuals accused of crimes throughout all of Chester County, including West Chester, Phoenixville, Malvern, Coatesville, Paoli, Downingtown, Tredyffrin, West Goshen, Honey Brook, Oxford, Devon, Pottstown, Chesterbrook, Parkesburg, Kennett Square, and Avondale.

DUI Law – Push for Ignition Interlock for First Offense DUI

Mike DiCindio West Chester, PA DUI Attorney
Contact West Chester DUI attorney Mike DiCindio to discuss DUI defense options

Recently, there has been word that there will be a renewed push for new legislation requiring first time DUI offenders to install an ignition interlock system in their vehicle once convicted. Currently, this is not a requirement to a first offense DUI sentence in Pennsylvania. Instead, it becomes a requirement with subsequent offenses.

Ignition interlock systems are expensive and burdensome. Generally, the system does not permit a driver to start the ignition of the vehicle until they have provided a breath sample that does not contain a blood alcohol content. Once they have blown into the system with a clean breath test, the vehicle will be able to start. Also, at certain times while the vehicle is operating, the system will require a breath sample from the driver.

These systems are not cheap. Typically they are leased from an approved vendor, still the cost is great. Beyond that, there has been concerns about the effectiveness of the system because they only test for alcohol, not other controlled substances.

Requiring this for first offense DUI offenders will greatly increase the severity of the first offense DUI sentence a long with the cost. And while there are other states that now have this requirement for DUI first offenders, it remains to be seen if Pennsylvania will be added to that list.

If you or a loved one has been charged with a DUI offense – contact West Chester criminal defense lawyer, Mike DiCindio today.

 


 

The above listed information does not include the entire crimes code, annotations, amendments or any recent changes that may be relevant.  The information provided is for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments.  These materials are not intended, and should not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances.  It is intended solely for informational purposes.

Michael DiCindio is a West Chester criminal defense lawyer who represents individuals accused of crimes throughout all of Chester County, including West Chester, Phoenixville, Malvern, Coatesville, Paoli, Downingtown, Tredyffrin, West Goshen, Honey Brook, Oxford, Devon, Pottstown, Chesterbrook, Parkesburg, Kennett Square, and Avondale.

Use and Abuse of Leading Questions: What are they and when are they allowed?

West Chester criminal defense
Contact West Chester criminal lawyer Michael DiCindio, Esq. to discuss your case today

Then you ran away?

My client never injured you?

This was the only contact you had with him, correct?

Everyday, in criminal courts across Pennsylvania, there is a fine line that is walked with what each lawyer believes is a “leading” question.  Before getting into court and litigating a matter, any matter, it is important for an attorney to understand what a leading question is and when it is permitted to be used.  The following should give a brief overview of the concept of “leading” a witness – and shed light on what kinds of questions are to be viewed as leading questions.

Under Pa. Rule of Evidence 611(c) the times that counsel may ask leading questions are delineated. The rule states:

“Leading questions should not be used on the direct or redirect examination of a witness except as may be necessary to develop the witness’ testimony. Ordinarily, leading questions should be permitted on cross-examination. When a party calls a hostile witness, an adverse party or a witness identified with an adverse party, interrogation may be by leading questions; a witness so examined should usually be interrogated by all other parties as to whom the witness is not hostile or adverse as if under redirect examination.”

 Pa. R. Evid. 611(c)(emphasis added).

A leading question, as defined by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, is one which puts the desired answer in the mouth of the witness. Com. v. Chambers, 599 A.2d 630 (Pa. 1991) citing Com. v. Dreibelbis, 426 A.2d 1111, 1116 (1981). The language of Rule 611(c) regarding the use leading questions when questioning one’s own witness is to be liberally construed. Chambers, 599 A.2d 630. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court held that it is within the discretion of the trial court to govern when leading questions may be permitted in order to “permit parties to elicit any material truth without regard to the technical considerations of who called the witness.” Chambers, 599 A.2d 630 at 640, citing Commonwealth v. Deitrick, 70 A. 275 (Pa. 1908). This discretion does not have a defined limit, but rather is to be exercised and limited by the interests of fairness and justice on a case by case basis. Chambers, 599 A.2d 630 at 640.

The trial court has wide discretion in controlling the use of leading questions. Com. v. Lambert, 765 A.2d 306 (Pa. Super. 2000). This wide discretion will not be disturbed on appeal absent a clear abuse of the discretion afforded to the trial court. Commonwealth v. Jones, 487 Pa. 183, 185, 409 A.2d 25, 26-27 (1979); Commonwealth v. Chmiel, 777 A.2d 459 (2001); Commonwealth v. Reidenbaugh, 282 Pa.Superior Ct. 300, 422 A.2d 1126 (1980); Commonwealth v. Guess, 266 Pa.Superior Ct. 359, 404 A.2d 1330 (1979).

Pennsylvania law has recognized numerous times when leading questions during direct examination are permitted. Commonwealth v. Reeves, 267 Pa. 361, 110 A. 158, Pa., December 12, 1919 (When a party is surprised by a witness unexpectedly turning hostile); Com. v. Lambert, 765 A.2d 306 (Pa.Super. 2000)(When a witness is hostile, proves to be hostile or the party calling the witness is surprised by testimony of the witness inconsistent with prior statements);   Com. v. Tavares, 555 A.2d 199 (Pa. Super 1989)( on direct examination when there is difficulty in getting direct and intelligible answers); Commonwealth v. Smolko, 666 A.2d 669 (Pa. Super 1992)(the victim is unable to communicate due to a disease which only allows for limited communication, such as only being able to raise either a left or right arm to answer yes or no); Commonwealth v. Polston, 616 A.2d 669 (Pa. Super 1992)(when questioning a child witness because they are generally easily intimidated in a courtroom setting); Katz v. St. Mary Hosp., 816 A.2d 1125 (Pa.Super. 2003)(when leading questions are needed due to the length and complexity of the testimony as long as the elicited responses are of information that would have been admissible despite the leading format); Ward v. City of Pittsburgh, 44 A.2d 553 (Pa. 1945)( Where a witness has a speech affliction which prevents him or her from speaking in the usual manner); Fish v. Gosnell, 463 A.2d 1042 (Pa.Super. 1983)(if solely an isolated leading question); Com. v. Smith, 115 A.2d 782 (Pa.Super 1955)(When a witness is reluctant to testify); Pennsylvania Labor Relations Bd. v. Butz, 192 A.2d 707 (Pa. 1963)(if the use of the leading questions does not affect the substance of the direct evidence, i.e. it was not viewed as less credible just because the testimony was elicited through leading questions); Commonwealth. v. McLean, 1995 WL 632696 Pa.Com.Pl. (1995)(to refresh a witnesses recollection or jog their memory outside of the presence or hearing of the jury).

It is well settled that the mere fact of a question requiring, or suggesting, a yes or no answer does not automatically make the question leading. Waltosh v. Pennsylvania R. Co., 259 Pa. 372, 103 A. 55 (1918); Foster v. Sol Greisler & Sons, 29 A.2d 103 (Pa. Super 1942). The United States Supreme Court noted that in deciding whether a question is leading is a question of form. The Court, in a footnote, discussed seven of seventeen “plainly leading” questions that were asked by counsel. This was done by quoting the phrases which made them leading. Of the seven “plainly leading” questions referenced in footnote 11 of Ohio v. Roberts four of them are what would be called “elliptical” interrogatories that take the form of statements. Elliptical interrogatories are questions in which the verb, and at times the subject, is removed, and the intonation is such that it suggests a “yes” or “no” answer. The footnoted stated:

“No less than 17 plainly leading questions were asked, as indicated by phrases in counsel’s inquiries: “is[n’t] it a fact . . . that”; “is it to your knowledge, then, that . . . ”; “is[n’t] that correct”; “you never gave them . . . ”; “this wasn’t then in the pack . . . ”; “you have never [not] seen [discussed; talked] . . . ”; “you never gave. . . . ”

 Footnote 11, Ohio v. Roberts.

While Ohio v. Roberts was later overruled by the Crawford v. Washington, 541 U.S. 36 (2004) decision on other grounds, footnote eleven is support for the modern trend of allowing cross-examination to take the form of elliptical questions; questions that express interrogatory emotion to the witness through inflection and intonation, rather than by words alone. It must be remembered, that while on paper these questions do not always read as interrogatories, when conveyed in court they are expressed and understood as such.

How evidence is elicited from a witness on the stand is crucial to how it is perceived and understood by the Judge and Jury, alike.  Knowing these rules and the principles involved in them can give any trial lawyer the added benefit of understanding when to use leading questions and how to do so effectively.


The above listed information does not include the entire crimes code, annotations, amendments or any recent changes that may be relevant.  The information provided is for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments.  These materials are not intended, and should not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances.  It is intended solely for informational purposes.

Michael DiCindio is a West Chester criminal defense lawyer who represents individuals accused of crimes throughout all of Chester County, including West Chester, Phoenixville, Malvern, Coatesville, Paoli, Downingtown, Tredyffrin, West Goshen, Honey Brook, Oxford, Devon, Pottstown, Chesterbrook, Parkesburg, Kennett Square, and Avondale.

 

Pennsylvania DUI Defense: Top Three Arguments

west chester DUI lawyer
Contact West Chester DUI lawyer Mike DiCindio to discuss defense options

When someone has been arrested and charged with a DUI offense in West Chester, or anywhere in Pennsylvania – there are three types of common DUI defense arguments (among others) to the DUI charges. Theses three general DUI defenses are:

 

  1. The Law
  2. The Facts
  3. The Science

 

The Law

 

When officers conduct vehicle stops, they are required to have either reasonable suspicion or probable cause, depending on the circumstances. If the officer did not possess one of these legal justifications the stop of the vehicle will be found to be unconstitutional and the evidence flowing from it will be “suppressed.” There is a large body of case law that addressed the legal sufficiency of traffic stops by law enforcement in DUI matters. An experienced DUI criminal defense lawyer should be familiar with the law and decide whether a motion should be filed to contest the basis for the vehicle stop.

 

The Facts

 

In many DUI cases, in particular, DUI cases where the person charged refused chemical testing and where the Commonwealth is alleging that the driver was “incapable of safe driving” the facts become the focal point of the case. In order to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt, the Commonwealth must show that the individual was incapable of safely driving due to the amount of alcohol he/she drank without the added benefit of an objective scientific test (i.e. blood test/breath test results). Police officers typically cite the same, or similar core group of observations that led them to believe the driver was incapable of safe driving due to the level of alcohol they consumed. Typically, these observations include glassy, watery or bloodshot eyes, the odor of alcohol, sluggish responses, and more. A skilled criminal defense lawyer will analyze the facts and circumstances of a particular case and prepare an argument to show why the Commonwealth’s evidence does not support the beyond a reasonable doubt standard and why the facts cited do not provide any insight into how much alcohol someone has consumed.

 

The Science

 

There are certain requirements that the breath and blood tests must follow in order to ensure accuracy in each case. If those methods/requirements are not followed the science behind the accuracy of the results may become an issue and may lead to a defense in a DUI case. It is the Commonwealth’s burden to present evidence sufficient to show that all of the scientific requirements have been met.  When they cannot, the accuracy of the chemical testing may be called into question or kept out of the case all together.

 

The above listed information are three overarching defense categories and by no means represent the entire body of potential DUI defenses available in any given case. When arrested for a DUI offense it is crucial to contact a skilled and knowledgeable DUI lawyer immediately to properly analyze your case and begin planning a defense strategy.

 


The above listed information does not include the entire crimes code, annotations, amendments or any recent changes that may be relevant.  The information provided is for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments.  These materials are not intended, and should not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances.  It is intended solely for informational purposes.

Michael DiCindio is a West Chester criminal defense lawyer who represents individuals accused of crimes throughout all of Chester County, including West Chester, Phoenixville, Malvern, Coatesville, Paoli, Downingtown, Tredyffrin, West Goshen, Honey Brook, Oxford, Devon, Pottstown, Chesterbrook, Parkesburg, Kennett Square, and Avondale.

 

PBT Tests – When can the results be used against you?

 

A “PBT test”, or preliminary breath test, is a device that allows an officer to test a person’s blood alcohol concentration without transporting them for a formal breath or blood test. These PBT’s are typically utilized by officers in DUI, drunk driving and underage drinking cases. While commonly used and accepted in practice, on scene by law enforcement officers, the results from these PBT devices have been found to be inadmissible in Court. There are certain limited times when they will be admissible – when specific requirements are met. (Which is not common) Also, they are permitted for certain pre-arrest investigative purposes.

west chester DUI lawyer
Contact West Chester DUI lawyer Mike DiCindio to discuss your case

In 2009 the Court in Commonwealth v. Brigidi made clear that the results of PBT tests may be admissible in certain cases (underage drinking matters). This was only if the results were obtained by a device that was approved and listed in the Pennsylvania Bulletin. Further, there was the added requirement of the device being calibrated and correctly checked for accuracy.

In the real world application, PBT tests are typically used for two major things. First, in underage drinking prosecutions, in order to determine if the person underage was consuming an alcoholic beverage. Second, in DUI and drunk driving cases when the officer administers a PBT at the scene of the vehicle stop in order to develop probable cause that the driver of the vehicle was under the influence of alcohol. This would then be a factor in determining if the individual should be arrested and transported for a formal breath or blood test.

If you have been charged with DUI, drunk driving or underage drinking and a PBT was administered by the officers conducting the investigation, it is important to have a skilled criminal defense attorney examine the evidence and represent you in Court in order to protect against inadmissible evidence being used against you.

In West Chester and the Chester County area, law enforcement officers utilize PBT tests regularly. A skilled and knowledgeable Chester County DUI and criminal defense attorney should be contacted if you or a loved one is in this position.

Contact Mike DiCindio today to schedule your free initial consultation and go to the DUI and Underage Drinking sections of the DiCindio Law website to read more about these crimes.

 


 

The above listed information does not include the entire crimes code, annotations, amendments or any recent changes that may be relevant.  The information provided is for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments.  These materials are not intended, and should not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances.  Please contact DiCindio Law for a consultation and to discuss what law is relevant to your case.

Mike DiCindio is a criminal defense lawyer who represents individuals accused of crimes throughout all of Chester County, including West Chester, Phoenixville, Malvern, Coatesville, Paoli, Downingtown, Tredyffrin, West Goshen, Honey Brook, Oxford, Devon, Pottstown, Chesterbrook, Parkesburg, Kennett Square, and Avondale as well as in Montgomery County, Lancaster County, Delaware County, Philadelphia County, Bucks County and Berks County.

 

 

Holiday Season = Parties, Drinks and DUI Checkpoints

Chester County DUI Lawyer
If arrested at a Chester County DUI checkpoint contact Mike DiCindio Chester County DUI Lawyer

With the holiday season fast approaching it is important to be aware that police officers in Chester County and elsewhere in the surrounding areas will be conducting DUI checkpoints. Police utilize sobriety checkpoints in their effort to enforce the drunk driving laws in the state, arrest impaired drivers and keep the roads safer for others. While they may seem completely discretionary and random,  in Pennsylvania sobriety checkpoints must conform to judicially created guidelines in order to be constitutional.

When the police decide that they want to conduct a DUI checkpoint, there is a process and procedure that must be followed. The process and guidelines for a constitutionally acceptable DUI checkpoint are known as the Tarbert – Blouse guidelines. This name comes from the two cases in which the guidelines were first announced. The goal of the guidelines was to safeguard against completely arbitrary roadblocks. Further, it makes sure that constitutional rights are not infringed upon at any time during the course of the DUI checkpoint.

The five guidelines that were adopted by the Court in the Blouse case that will allow a checkpoint to be constitutionally appropriate are as follows:

(1) the vehicle stop must be brief and must not include a physical search;

(2) sufficient warning of the existence of the checkpoint is a MUST;

(3) the decision to conduct a checkpoint, as well as the decisions as to time and place for the checkpoint, must be subject to prior administrative approval;

(4) the choice of time and place for the checkpoint must be based on local experience as to where and when intoxicated drivers are likely to be traveling; and

(5) the decision as to which vehicles to stop at the checkpoint must be established by administratively pre-fixed, objective standards, and must not be left to the unfettered discretion of the officers at the scene.
                                                        (See, Commonwealth v. Worthy,  957 A.2d 720 (PA. 2008))

Law enforcement must keep the records of compliance with all of these guidelines. It is not uncommon that while running a DUI checkpoint, some of the guidelines may be missed or not followed. For example, if it is a particularly busy night and the DUI checkpoint has created a large amount of traffic, police cannot arbitrarily begin to allow cars to pass the checkpoint without being stopped – there must be an established “choke point” where, if traffic reaches, the police will then allow cars to pass the checkpoint until it has cleared. Any of these missteps will turn a vehicle stop into an unconstitutional vehicle stop.

If you have been arrested for DUI as a result of a sobriety checkpoint vehicle stop, contact Mike DiCindio directly in order to discuss your case.

 


The above listed information does not include the entire crimes code, annotations, amendments or any recent changes that may be relevant.  The information provided is for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments.  These materials are not intended, and should not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances.  Please contact DiCindio Law for a consultation and to discuss what law is relevant to your case.

Mike DiCindio is a criminal defense lawyer who represents individuals accused of crimes throughout all of Chester County, including West Chester, Phoenixville, Malvern, Coatesville, Paoli, Downingtown, Tredyffrin, West Goshen, Honey Brook, Oxford, Devon, Pottstown, Chesterbrook, Parkesburg, Kennett Square, and Avondale as well as in Montgomery County, Lancaster County, Delaware County, Philadelphia County, Bucks County and Berks County.

 

 

DUI law amendment – New and Important Changes

west chester DUI lawyer
Contact West Chester DUI lawyer Mike DiCindio to discuss your case today.

On October 27, 2014, a new Act was passed that has amended the DUI law in Pennsylvania in a few ways. While all are important changes, one in particular solidifies that a second offense DUI offender who has refused testing in now facing a maximum sentence of 5 years.

In 2013, in the case of Commonwealth v. Musau, the Pennsylvania Superior Court ruled that the sentence of 90 days to 5 years of imprisonment was illegal, and ruled that the maximum sentence allowable for a second offense DUI when the individual refuses chemical testing is six months.

A skilled DUI lawyer should be consulted with no delay after being arrested for a DUI offense.

The law, as now amended, has addressed the language in the statute that created the argument advanced by Musau’s attorney. Therefore, now a second offense DUI when the accused refuses chemical testing is clearly a charge punishable by a 5 year maximum.

It is now crucial that when one is accused of a second offense DUI and they refused chemical testing that a skilled and knowledgeable DUI attorney is retained to evaluate the case and properly advise and guide one through the process.

Contact Mike DiCindio today to schedule your free consultation.