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    Amy and Michael Ivan were my attorneys during the year of 2013. They were excellent in giving me guidance and information during the time I was dealing with my court case. It was a confusing time for me, and if I had not had them to call and explain things to me I would have been lost. It would have been easy for me to make mistakes because I wasn’t familiar with the law. Because they were easily available to me, I felt at ease and was confident that Amy and Michael Ivan were taking care of me.

    I would recommend them at any time as attorneys. They are caring, efficient attorneys who will fight for you. No matter what the outcome, you will feel that you have had the best representation you can get.

    October 13, 2014

What is a DUI?

http://harrisburgduiguy.com

Being charged with a DUI in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania has very serious repercussions. It is important to find a Harrisburg DUI attorney that will do everything in their power to ensure that a DUI conviction does not haunt you for the rest of your life. The best Harrisburg DUI lawyers in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania are often able to get a DUI charge expunged leaving you with a license and a clean record to police and employers. Make no mistake, if not taken seriously a DUI charge in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania will have lasting consequences that is capable of affecting your employment, future, and freedom.

Under what circumstances can an individual be charged with a DUI?

What are the penalties if found guilty of a DUI?

How will a DUI defense lawyer help an individual? What line of defenses can be formed?

The vast majority of people who have been charged with a DUI do not have a past criminal record and deserve a second chance without having the “book” thrown at them.

In Harrisburg, Pennsylvania it is not illegal to drink and drive as long as the person operating the vehicle is not impaired and does not have a blood alcohol content above .08. With that said it is important to understand that it is not safe to drink and drive. The best DUI defense attorneys will know the most effective ways to defend a client who has been charged with a DUI.

Knowing and understanding the Harrisburg, Pennsylvania DUI laws as well as the proceedings that take place in a courtroom for DUI cases is nothing short of a challenge. The best DUI attorneys in the Harrisburg, Pennsylvania area will use clever and innovative ways to help their clients achieve the best results in court.

The experience that comes with hiring a DUI defense attorney will prove to be priceless when it comes to fighting a DUI charge in court. The best Harrisburg DUI attorneys have a reputation for being able to aggressively defend their clients while helping them achieve favorable outcomes.

If you or someone you love has been arrested for driving under the influence in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania it is important that you know that there are options. An individual should never plead guilty without consulting closely with an attorney from a DUI law firm. The best Pennsylvania DUI defense attorneys are the ones who have a practice that primarily defends individuals who have been charged with a DUI. DUI defense attorneys who do this are usually better when it comes to strategic planning that will help their clients walk away without having to face repercussion.

Every DUI case in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania is going to have two cases filed. The first case is an administrative hearing that deals with an individual’s driver’s license and the second case filed is the criminal case that ultimately decides the punishment that a defendant will have to face. A DUI law firm with very experienced DUI defense attorneys will give a defendant the best chance at retaining their privilege to drive in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania as well as having the charges brought up against them reduced or completely dropped.

Fourth of July Sobriety Checkpoint? ‘Tis the season!

Long summertime holiday weekend?  Yup, take it to the bank – there will be checkpoints set up over the next few days.  Cumberland Count alone already set up “sobriety checkpoints” over three separate weekends during the summer of 2013.  Typically, they’re set up at locations along major thoroughfares that have high numbers of restaurants/bars, concerts/stadiums that lead to or from Interstates 81, 581, 83 and 283.

Though roadblocks are not permitted on interstates, the police know that most traffic will seek access to an interstate to travel home.  So, the police will try to set up the sobriety checkpoints along one of these “feeder” roadways.  Police decide when and where they will place the roadblock and then converge at an appointed hour, typically between 10 p.m. and 3 a.m., to block traffic on that road.

Roadblocks will usually be established around a bend in the road or over the crest of a hill, so that cars approaching the site will not have a side street to use to avoid passing through the checkpoint.  Each roadblock typically also has a “chase” car, an officer waiting in an idling cruiser at a strategic place to see any vehicles that attempt to avoid the roadblock.  These “chase” officers assume that any vehicle turning away from the roadblock is trying to avoid detection for possible impaired driving.  Appellate courts across the US have found that drivers who do not wish to be delayed at a night time construction site, or who believe they have happened upon an accident scene that is delaying traffic may find a safe way to leave and not pass through the safety or sobriety checkpoint.  However, if you make an abrupt, unsafe or illegal maneuver in turning around, this will usually justify the chase car pulling you over.

Remember, the best way to avoid a DUI charge is to not drink and get behind the wheel of a car.

If you or a loved one has been charged with DUI, give us a call as soon as possible.  Time is of the essence and we sincerely enjoy helping good people through tough times.

DUI Attorney Harrisburg PA

DUI Attorney Harrisburg PA

Being charged with a DUI in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania has very serious repercussions. It is important to find a Harrisburg DUI attorney that will do everything in their power to ensure that a DUI conviction does not haunt you for the rest of your life. The best Harrisburg DUI lawyers in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania are often able to get a DUI charge expunged leaving you with a license and a clean record to police and employers. Make no mistake, if not taken seriously a DUI charge in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania will have lasting consequences that is capable of affecting your employment, future, and freedom.

Under what circumstances can an individual be charged with a DUI?

What are the penalties if found guilty of a DUI?

How will a DUI defense lawyer help an individual? What line of defenses can be formed?

The vast majority of people who have been charged with a DUI do not have a past criminal record and deserve a second chance without having the “book” thrown at them.

In Harrisburg, Pennsylvania it is not illegal to drink and drive as long as the person operating the vehicle is not impaired and does not have a blood alcohol content above .08. With that said it is important to understand that it is not safe to drink and drive. The best DUI defense attorneys will know the most effective ways to defend a client who has been charged with a DUI.

Knowing and understanding the Harrisburg, Pennsylvania DUI laws as well as the proceedings that take place in a courtroom for DUI cases is nothing short of a challenge. The best DUI attorneys in the Harrisburg, Pennsylvania area will use clever and innovative ways to help their clients achieve the best results in court.

The experience that comes with hiring a DUI defense attorney will prove to be priceless when it comes to fighting a DUI charge in court. The best Harrisburg DUI attorneys have a reputation for being able to aggressively defend their clients while helping them achieve favorable outcomes.

If you or someone you love has been arrested for driving under the influence in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania it is important that you know that there are options. An individual should never plead guilty without consulting closely with an attorney from a DUI law firm. The best Pennsylvania DUI defense attorneys are the ones who have a practice that primarily defends individuals who have been charged with a DUI. DUI defense attorneys who do this are usually better when it comes to strategic planning that will help their clients walk away without having to face repercussion.

Every DUI case in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania is going to have two cases filed. The first case is an administrative hearing that deals with an individual’s driver’s license and the second case filed is the criminal case that ultimately decides the punishment that a defendant will have to face. A DUI law firm with very experienced DUI defense attorneys will give a defendant the best chance at retaining their privilege to drive in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania as well as having the charges brought up against them reduced or completely dropped.

DUI Checkpoint: Can they do that?

Yes.  Yes, they can.  In Pennsylvania, the legality of police DUI checkpoints is governed by the 4th Amendment of the Constitution.  Roadblocks, as in every traffic stop, must withstand judicial scrutiny.  And, in order to do so, the police must have a legally sufficient reason to stop your car.  The reason can be observation of a traffic offense, defective equipment, expired tags or inspection, or some other visible sign that a crime is being committed.  In Pennsylvania, roadblocks have been approved for use in stopping impaired drivers, so long as the roadblock is legally established and operated under strict guidelines.

In Pennsylvania, roadblocks are valid based on the Commonwealth’s police powers to insure the roads are safe from drunk drivers.  The Supreme Court upheld this authority as constitutional so long as citizens rights are protected.  Generally, the roadblock decision-making must be made by supervisory personnel rather than by law enforcement officers in the field.  Also the execution of the roadblock must be carried out pursuant to specific procedures requiring all passing vehicles to be stopped.  Finally, the delay imposed on motorists must be minimal.

Therefore, if not precisely executed, your checkpoint DUI arrest can be challenged as a defense to the charges against you.  Generally however, to challenge the legality of the roadblock, you’ll need the testimony of an expert to support the challenge.

D’oh! I refused the chemical test…

So you were arrested for DUI and refused to have your blood, breath or urine tested by the police after he or she informed you – repeatedly – of your implied-consent obligations and attendant consequences for refusal. Your license is now suspended by PennDOT. A frequent question arises in almost every instance this happens. Is there a “work license” or “limited license” option available? The short answer is yes but getting one isn’t easy.

What’s an OLL? OLL stands for Occupational Limited License. According to PennDOT, an Occupational Limited License is a limited driver’s license issued to a driver whose Pennsylvania driving privilege has been suspended.

So, does a suspension for refusal to submit to chemical testing qualify for an OLL? Yes, but getting one isn’t easy. PennDOT will only issue an OLL under the following circumstances:

1. It must be an 18-month suspension.
2. The applicant has no more than one prior DUI offense within the past 10 years.
3. The applicant has served 12 months of the 18 month suspension.
4. The applicant has satisfied all restoration requirements.
5. The applicant has the ignition interlock installed on their vehicle.

Fun, right?

Remember, the DUI laws are designed to deter drunk driving and the best way to avoid a DUI is to not drink and get behind the wheel of a car.

If you or a loved one has been charged with DUI, give us a call as soon as possible. Time is of the essence and we sincerely enjoy helping good people through tough times.

What happens if I refuse to perform the field sobriety tests? Will I lose my license?

There is no requirement for you to perform any of the field sobriety tests and there is no automatic mechanism for the police to suspend your driver’s license if you decline to attempt these evaluations.  But having a driver’s license is a qualified right, one that can be continuously reviewed by the State.  Though roadside agility tests are not required in Pennsylvania, police may compel a suspect to provide a blood, breath or urine sample but only after he or she has been arrested for DUI.  Pennsylvania’s DUI law provides that a chemical test of a driver’s blood alcohol content can’t be performed by police unless he or she first establishes a “reasonable basis” upon which it can be demonstrated that the driver was operating a vehicle under the influence. Police use field sobriety tests to help develop this “reasonable basis” to submit motorists to chemical testing.

If you refuse to take the field sobriety tests, and are eventually convicted of DUI, you will lose your license as part of the criminal court proceeding.  However, that is likely months away from the time of your stop, and may never occur if an experienced DUI attorney helps you with your case.

So, what if I refuse the chemical tests after I’ve been arrested?  Will I lose my license?

Yes.  As mentioned earlier your license will, in all likelihood, be suspended. Though you are entitled to a hearing to challenge the suspension.  At this administrative hearing you have the right to challenge whether or not you refused to be tested.  If you lose the administrative hearing, your license will be suspended for at least a year.

If you refuse the chemical testing, you may still be entitled to get a temporary license issued as a stop-gap license to allow you to drive until you get your PennDOT hearing.  The continuation of driving privileges almost always lasts only until a decision is reached on your administrative license suspension AFTER you have properly and timely requested a hearing.

If you or a loved one has been charged with DUI, give us a call as soon as possible.  Time is of the essence and we sincerely enjoy helping good people through tough times.

Hmm. What was your first clue?

When I clerked for the Perry County Court of Common Pleas in the late 90’s there was a great old story about an epic DUI.  A local farmer apparently hopped into his tireless jalopy and decided to go for a ride around New Bloomfield.  When I use the word “tireless”, I’m not referring to the ironic longevity of an old Ford.  I mean the car had no tires.  Yup, you read that right.  No tires.  Just rims.

It was late night and though the car apparently couldn’t break 20 or so miles per hour, the rim on road contact produced huge plumes of sparks from all four wheel wells and raised an incredible racket.  He didn’t get far before he was pulled over and was discovered to be – uhm – gone.  The half-empty bottle of Everclear on the passenger seat an icing on the easiest DUI cake the DA would get that year.  An interesting legal issue arose on appeal, however.  The car had a valid inspection and registration, hadn’t exceeded the speed limit, hadn’t deviated from the lane of travel, hadn’t swerved, obeyed all traffic signals, no accident, no injuries, no damage to person or property, etc.  His lawyer appealed the reasonable suspicion to make the stop more out of a duty to do so on behalf of his client rather than an actual hope to overturn the conviction.  Suffice it to say, it was an unsuccessful appeal.  As an interesting aside, both lawyers and the Superior Court clerk all elected to write their briefs and opinion in prose.  The trial judge elected to have the final ruling from the Superior Court – a poem – framed and affixed to the hallway of the third floor of the courthouse.

Equipment defects or vehicle safety problems sometimes prove the basis for an officer to pull you over.  A dozen examples of such defects from reported appelate cases include the following:

Tires without insufficient tread *cough* tread

Damaged, “starburst” or cracked windshield

Outside mirror or other required equipment missing (e.g., fender, bumper, tire)

Window tint too dark

Failure to wear seatbelt

Tag not mounted in proper place

Dim or broken tail light

Excessive smoke – or sparks – from under the vehicle

Passenger hanging out of the window or gesturing to other motorists

Honking the horn inappropriately at night in a residential area

Improper dealer tag or “drive out” tag on vehicle

Loud or missing muffler

These correctable items (which likely would never merit a pullover during morning rush hour) have led to many late night traffic stops that ultimately resulted in DUI arrests.  Remember, the officer only needs a single reason for coming in contact with you and your car.  His or her real purpose in stopping you is to see if you are impaired or have other smells, visible or audible evidence of possible impairment.

If you or a loved one has been arrested for DUI in Dauphin, Cumberland or York county contact the Quinlan Law Group today. Consultations are always free and we take pride in helping good people through tough times.

The car made me do it.

In central PA, officers assigned to a “DUI task force” team or similar special traffic enforcement unit will basically pull over any vehicle they see or come in contact with that gives them ANY explainable reason for confronting the driver. These special units typically operate at late hours (typically, 10 PM to 6 AM or 11 PM to 7 AM) and on high DUI days (Wednesday through Sunday, typically) when they know to expect a sizable percentage of drivers (1 or 2 out of 10) to be drinking or using some substance that may impair them.

Aside from DUI roadblocks, or at an accident scene, the first interaction with a police officer usually occurs when questionable driving conduct or some defective item of equipment or an expired tag draws the officer’s attention to your car. This tells the officer that the car can be stopped and legally investigated. However, there are a number of cues that police officers use to identify possible alcohol-impaired driving. These criteria were first published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in 1981 as a list based upon 20 driving cues that they determined were the best for identifying key night-time drunk drivers and setting them apart from normal drivers.

The list of clues or cues, as originally published, is as follows:

Turning with a wide radius
Straddling the Center or Lane Marker Line
Appearing to be drunk
Almost striking another object or car
Weaving
Driving on other than designated roadway
Swerving
Slow speed (10 mph or more under the speed limit)
Stopping, without cause, in the traffic lane
Following too closely
Drifting
Tires on the center or lane marker
Braking erratically
Driving into opposing or crossing traffic
Signaling inconsistent with driving actions
Slow response to traffic signals
Stopping inappropriately (other than in traffic lane)
Turning abruptly or illegally
Accelerating or decelerating rapidly
Headlights off

The list applies to cars, trucks and other traditional vehicles. The list for motorcycles is different.

Obviously, everyone has done some of these things, possibly on a daily basis, especially in the era of the smart phone. Also, the most common offense, speeding, is NOT on the list. Basically, ANY driving behavior, vehicle deficiency or activity that looks the slightest bit suspicious will usually result in an officer coming in contact with you, just to see if you display any any of the signs of intoxication.

A careful review of the circumstances surrounding your stop and arrest can be vital to your defense.

If you or a loved one has been arrested for DUI in south central PA, contact the Quinlan Law Group today. Consultations are always free and we take pride in helping good people through tough times.

“Alright Trooper DeMille, I’m ready for my close-up.”

Video evidence can be incredibly compelling in a central Pennsylvania DUI trial. Which is why most police cruisers in Central PA these days have the capability for either video or audio recording of everything that occurs in the general vicinity of the officer manning the vehicle. The camera usually is positioned to capture the scene in front of the vehicle and is often attached by a bracket next to the interior rearview mirror. That’s why the officer usually does field sobriety tests in front of his car, or why the officer questions you in front of his car. Also, many of these cameras can be rotated 360 degrees to be repositioned by the officer to focus on you sitting in the back seat of the cruiser while at the roadside or while you’re being transported to Dauphin, York or Cumberland County prison.

Microphones are located both on the officer’s shirt or vest and inside his or her cruiser. The officer then has the capability to turn these microphones on and off individually, so that he or she can have private conversations with other officers, the dispatcher or a supervisor, yet catch any and every word you say on tape. Remember, REMAIN SILENT even when you think you are alone and in a “private” place.

If the officer is investigating you for DUI, it is reasonably safe for you to assume that everything is being recorded from the time the officer stops your car through your arrest and delivery to jail. This is especially true of anything you say, since the microphone in the back of the officer’s cruiser can pick even a whisper that you utter under your breath.

A good DUI attorney will request these recordings through discovery, review them for inconsistencies and anomalies. Next he or she will assess whether their admission is legal or should be suppressed or if an expert’s testimony would be helpful.

If you or a loved one has been arrested for DUI in south central PA, contact the Quinlan Law Group today. Consultations are always free and we take pride in helping good people through tough times.

Pulled over for drinking? Remain SILENT!

The US and Pennsylvania Constitutions protect your right to remain silent and not incriminate yourself.  And if an arresting officer has read you your rights, your silence cannot be used against you in court.

Tell the officer you’ve made the choice to remain silent. This is not an excuse to be rude or disrespectful. Be polite. Be respectful. But by all mains – be quiet! Aside from providing the officer ID information and showing them your driver’s license, you don’t have to answer any questions relating to why you were stopped.

The police officer has the right to expect you to identify yourself if he stopped you based on his or her reasonable suspicion. Police officers receive education during which they must recite adequate information to support their decision to arrest a suspect. This training has led to officers repeating a litany of these common signs of intoxication so that the officer can survive a pre-trial motion to suppress challenging an arrest decision that lacked proper justification. A good defense attorney will argue lack of clear evidence of intoxication if these symptoms are missing.

Remember the officer wants to hear your speech patterns to determine if your speech is slurred, thick-tongued, disorganized or otherwise impaired sounding. Certain drugs will cause similar speech patterns. If an officer can address any possible excuses for such signs during the first part of his conversation with you, you probably won’t be able to explain your errant driving or unusual speech patterns when the case goes to trial. Again – REMAIN SILENT!

If you or a loved one has been arrested for DUI in Dauphin, Cumberland or York county contact the Quinlan Law Group today. Consultations are always free and we take pride in helping good people through tough times.

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