When Roadside Sobriety Tests Go Wrong

We’ve all seen the humiliating, yet hysterically funny DUI videos when a suspect is happily singing along the side of the road for the cops, or otherwise chatting up the police officers who are busy gathering tons of evidence to use against that person in the soon to be splashed across the Internet DUI case.

Really, if the police pull you over for anything, it’s best to try to control yourself and have inhibitions, especially if you’ve been pulled over on suspicion of DUI. This is the absolute worst time to do anything other than provide your name while being polite to the police officers in question.

You Do Not Have to Take a Field Sobriety Test in PA

In Pennsylvania, you are not obliged to perform a field sobriety test if you are pulled over by an officer who suspects that you have been driving under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs. This means that you do not have to obey the police and allow yourself to be tested on the side of the road for balance and coordination, just because they ask you to perform these tests.

Field Tests and Their Challenges to Even the Most Sober of People

Field sobriety testing (FST) allows law enforcement officials to ask you to do things that are difficult even for the most agile of people who have not been drinking. For example, there is the standing on one leg test. In this situation, you will have to balance on one leg, with the other up off the ground at least six inches. And you must count out loud for at least 30 seconds. It’s like doing Yoga on the street only in front of a police officer who is focused on finding something wrong enough to arrest you on suspicion of DUI.

If you sway while trying to balance, use your arms, or hop or put your suspended foot down instead of keeping it up in the air, the officer may take this as an indication that your ability to drive has been impaired by alcohol.

Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) Test In addition to the one-leg-stand test, there is the horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN) test. In this test, you will be asked to keep your head still while your eyes follow the track of an object such as a fingertip or flashlight. The police officer moves it to the left or to the right and f your eye jumps as it is moving or while it is either to the extreme right or to the extreme left, the officer takes this as an indication that you are alcohol-impaired.

Walk and Turn Test The officer asks you to take nine heel-to-toe steps like you were walking on a tightrope while counting aloud with each step. When you reach nine steps, you pivot on one foot and do another nine steps along with the counting. In this case, if you have difficulty following instructions or get one part wrong, the officer can use this as probable cause to arrest you on suspicion of DUI.

Arrested on Suspicion of DUI? Contact an Experienced DUI Defense Attorney

Please contact the Harrisburg, PA, law firm of Laguna Reyes Maloney, LLP to schedule a free case evaluation with Roger Laguna or Laura Reyes Maloney: 717-233-5292. You may also contact us online.

Wife of PA Budget Secretary Sentenced for Second DUI

Public figures are not exempt from arrest for DUI. In fact, in recent months, four well-known public figures have either been sentenced or arrested on charges involving DUI: Georgina Zogby, wife of Pennsylvania Budget Secretary Charles Zogby, X, NJ legislator and former TV reporter Paul Moriarty, former Detroit Lions cornerback Aaron Berry, and New York Yankees pitcher Michael Pineda. As a result of a DUI charge, lives can quickly crash and burn, destroying families and bright futures.

Two DUIs in One Year

The PA budget secretary’s wife, Georgina Zogby, has had two DUIs and several other drunk-driving related charges in the past year. It all started when her car was stopped on the side of the road in Monroe Township early on the morning of July 10, 2011.

A trooper pulled behind the 48-year-old Zogby and turned on his emergency lights. Zogby apparently drove away, even as the trooper continued to follow her with lights on. While she was not speeding, she did pass right through a stop sign and then waved the trooper on to pass her.

Refused Breathalyzer Test

Eventually, she was pulled over after other troopers sent up a roadblock. She refused a Breathalyzer test, which in Pennsylvania means an automatic loss of your driver’s license. In addition to being arrested for DUI, she he was charged with several traffic offenses and for fleeing and eluding police.

Some two months later, she was involved in another drunk driving episode in which she had an accident causing her car to flip over. She was again arrested for DUI and additionally charged with driving without a valid license, as her license had been suspended from the last DUI.

House Arrest With Electronic Monitor for Alcohol

Just about one year later, in July 2012, she was sentenced to house arrest for 90 days for her second drunk driving arrest. House arrest means she will need to wear an electronic monitor around her ankle that will inform law enforcement officials if she drinks alcohol.

Zogby received what may be considered by some as a low-impact sentence. She didn’t serve jail time. She did also go through alcohol addiction treatment. Did Zogby receive preferential treatment because of her husband’s position? In fact, anyone who has been accused of DUI may be eligible to receive a lesser sentence depending on the unique nature of the case, especially if it is a first-time DUI.

If you have been arrested on a drunken driving charge, it is important to defend your rights. Even if you believe you did drive while drunk, the arresting officers may have made a mistake that would lead to a case dismissal. It may be possible to plead guilty to a lesser charge or to obtain alternative sentencing, called Alternative Rehabilitative Diversion, in Pennsylvania.

Contact an Attorney Experienced in Defending Clients Against DUI Charges

To learn more about how attorneys experienced in defending against DUI charges can help, please contact the Harrisburg, PA, law firm of Laguna Reyes Maloney, LLP. Schedule a free case evaluation with Roger Laguna or Laura Reyes Maloney by calling 717-233-5292 or emailing us.

In Pennsylvania, Teachers Now Required to Report Any DUI Conviction

Employed teachers’ in Pennsylvania who have been convicted of certain types of DUI offenses could potentially lose their jobs due to a recently passed law in Pennsylvania. The new law is aimed at protecting children’s safety but it simultaneously could penalize certain already employed individual teachers, janitors, and other school workers.

Prospective Teachers Ineligible for Employment in Schools for Three Years

The law states that the person who has been convicted: “shall be eligible for prospective employment only if a period of three years has elapsed from the date of the expiration of the sentence for the most recent offense.”

The new law does not require employed teachers to be terminated for past DUI convictions. However, the new law certainly will not protect a teacher with a past DUI conviction if the school does terminate him or her as a result.

Then the teacher will be in the position of needing to seek employment at another school, and here’s where the problems are exacerbated. That teacher must wait out an automatic period of three years of ineligibility for employment at any school – and this is three years beyond the fulfillment of the DUI sentence.

Here’s another troubling example. Let’s say John Smith, age 18, was convicted of a second-offense DUI in 2012 and received a five-year-punishment. By age 22, in 2016, he had successfully completed an alcohol treatment program and had earned his teaching degree. He still would not be eligible to teach until the law’s ineligibility period ran out, in 2020.

If you have been arrested for a DUI in Pennsylvania, the stakes are too high for you not to fight the charges.

Protect Your Rights and Your Livelihood: DUI Defense Attorney

Please contact the Harrisburg, PA, law firm of Laguna Reyes Maloney, LLP to schedule a free case evaluation with Roger Laguna or Laura Reyes Maloney: 717-233-5292. You may also contact us online.

PA State Trooper Faces DUI Charges

The State Police evidently do not play favorites when it comes to driving while intoxicated on Pennsylvania roadways. In July, a Pennsylvania State Trooper was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol while he was on duty. The trooper, whose 47-year-old Kevin Daniel Wackley is a 19-year police veteran, who was working out of Troop L’s Hamburg station.

It seems that another officer witnessed the defendant acting as if he were intoxicated. The suspect was five hours into his shift at the time he was taken into custody. The captain of the state police said that there would be two investigations in this case: the first would revolve around the officer’s DUI charge; the second would be an internal affairs investigation.

Captain of Police Says We Won’t Tolerate This Behavior

Pennsylvania State Police Captain Dante Orlandi was quoted as saying: “This inexcusable behavior will not be tolerated by the Pennsylvania State Police, nor the citizens and communities we serve.”

The trooper’s Breathalyzer test revealed that he had a blood-alcohol level of over 0.08 percent. He has been suspended and if he is convicted could be terminated.

Second Trooper Busted for DUI in Recent Weeks

Wackley is the second Pennsylvania state trooper who has been arrested for DUI in recent weeks.

Contact an Experienced DUI Defense Attorney in PA

There is always a way to defend against a DUI. Even if you believe you did drive while you were intoxicated, it is critical that you have an attorney protect your rights in a case with as much at stake as a DUI.

Please contact the Harrisburg, PA, law firm of Laguna Reyes Maloney, LLP to schedule a free case evaluation with Roger Laguna or Laura Reyes Maloney: 717-233-5292. You may also contact us online.

The Fallibility of DUI Blood Tests – PA

Blood tests that measure alcohol level are considered stronger evidence than breath tests. Is this really the case? Are these DUI blood tests reliable? The answer is: sometimes.

DUI Blood Test Errors

There are many ways to challenge the accuracy of a DUI blood test. For example, there can be issues involving inappropriate handling of the blood sample, incorrect calibration of the blood-alcohol testing machine, lack of competence on the part of the lab technician who administered the test, or even a question of accuracy as to whose blood sample was taken.

The prosecution must prove that the blood sample was handled appropriately and according to procedure. Prosecutors must also prove that the machine was in good working order and that the test was administered by a qualified operator.

Machines Break Down. Humans Make Mistakes. Fight Your DUI.

Since machines do break down and humans do make mistakes, there is a chance, no matter how small, that the blood test may not be reliable. If you have been accused of a drunk driving charge and accept the results of a test like this without knowing the nuances and technology behind these machine tests, you may be passing on an extremely effective way to defend against drunk-driving related charges.

Contact an Experienced DUI Defense Attorney in PA

If you have been arrested for a DUI in Pennsylvania, the stakes are too high for you not to fight the charges.

Please contact the Harrisburg, PA, law firm of Laguna Reyes Maloney, LLP to schedule a free case evaluation with Roger Laguna or Laura Reyes Maloney: 717-233-5292. You may also contact us online.

Protests at DUI Checkpoints

Protestors are taking action against the controversial use of police sobriety checkpoints in Pennsylvania. The protestors, who are named the Valley Forge Revolutionaries, recently protested along Route 611.

Among the signs they held were:

  • Big Bro Is Watching
  • Cops Ahead Exit Now!

The group was founded in 2007 with the goal of nullifying police checkpoints. A recently scheduled July 6 protest was staged at Abington Memorial Hospital and Old York Road. Another nullification event took place on June 15.

Essentially, the group members spread across sidewalks a few blocks from the police sobriety checkpoint. They warned drivers of the upcoming DUI checkpoint.

A video of that area on the evening in question shows that many motorists turned around after seeing the protestors’ warnings.

At issue say the demonstrators, is the violation of the Fourth Amendment. This amendment protects U.S. citizens against unreasonable searches and seizures. There is no probable cause to stop someone at a DUI checkpoint, thus the group considers these checkpoints unconstitutional. In fact, the stops are arbitrary, they say.

The founder of the Valley Forge Revolutionaries, said “Every year, thousands of innocent victims fall prey to…” these unlawful police tatics. Additionally, he notes that the checkpoints do not work and also are not cost-effective.

Arrested for DUI? Contact an Experienced Pennsylvania DUI Defense Attorney

If you have been accused of a DUI, including a DUI with a minor passenger in the car, the law office of Laguna Reyes Maloney LLP can aggressively protect your rights and your freedom.

Please call to schedule a free initial consultation with an attorney in our Harrisburg, PA, office: 717-233-5292. You may also email us to schedule your appointment.

DUI With a Minor Passenger

The crackdown on people convicted of DUIs just became even more intense. On July 9, 2012, a person arrested for driving while intoxicated (DUI), when there is a minor occupant in the car will suffer enhanced DUI penalties on conviction.

Pennsylvania lawmakers created the new drinking-and-driving connected offense to further deter drunk drivers. Act 39, as it is called, makes it a first degree misdemeanor for anyone convicted of DUI who had a minor in the car as a passenger at the time of the arrest. This charge is in addition to the initial DUI charge. The law amends Title 75 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes that relate to vehicles.

Penalties for DUI When There Is a Person Under 18 in the Car

The new drunk-driving offense comes with it own set of steep consequences. A first-time conviction of DUI with a minor passenger, which is anyone under the age of 18, will cost at minimum $1000 in fines and a community service sentence of 100 hours. A second DUI conviction with a minor in the car will cost you a minimum of $2500 in fines along with a one to six month prison sentence.

Senator John C. Rafferty, Jr., Senate District 44, introduced the “minor in the car” bill. Prosecutors have long been inclined to seek steep penalties for those arrested for DUI with a child in the car. Now the law backs them up.

Those convicted of a DUI with a minor in the car will not be eligible for the Alternative Rehabilitative Disposition Program (ARD). ARD is a sentence diversion generally available, for people who are dealing with a first-time DUI conviction.

Talk With an Experienced Pennsylvania DUI Defense Attorney

If you have been arrested for DUI with a minor passenger in the car or are facing any other criminal charges, the law office of Laguna Reyes Maloney LLP can aggressively protect your rights and your freedom.

Please call to schedule a free initial consultation with an attorney in our Harrisburg, PA, office: 717-233-5292. You may also email us to schedule your appointment.

Criminal Law Legal Help for Immigrants in Pennsylvania

Information Regarding Deportable Offenses

Under federal immigration laws, temporary or permanent residents can be deported if convicted of certain crimes. Because federal immigration laws are generally geared towards the removal of criminal offenders, the list of deportable offenders is too long to include on this blog page. However, a list of charges that commonly lead to deportation includes:

If you face any of the above charges or any other criminal charges in Pennsylvania and are concerned about your right to remain in the U.S., contact the Harrisburg law firm of Laguna Reyes Maloney, LLP.

We understand that, as an immigrant, you face the possibility of separation from your family and a return to problematic situation in your nation of origin. We can draw on decades of legal experience when working to fight your charges and keep you in the U.S.

A key step is to work to have charges reduced to a legal that won’t lead to deportation. We can work with prosecutors, local law enforcement officers and the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) to this end. We can also conduct an investigation and determine other steps, i.e. does it make sense to work to have your charges dismissed?

At Laguna Reyes Maloney, LLP, we keep apprised of the constantly changing laws that affect your rights as an immigrant in the U.S. For more information regarding deportable offenses in Pennsylvania, please contact our office by calling 717-233-5292.

Deportable Offenses

Under U.S. immigration laws, if you have temporary or permanent residency status, you can still face deportation proceedings if you are convicted of certain crimes. In some cases, when the criminal prosecution begins, the judge may also initiate deportation proceedings, and seek to have you permanently removed from the country. You have the right to fight these proceedings, but you want an experienced lawyer to protect your rights. This blog identifies the types of offenses that may lead to deportation proceedings, as well as some basic steps you should take to protect your rights.

Types of Crimes that May Lead to Deportation or Removal Proceedings

As a general rule, most minor misdemeanors or infractions will not be the basis for a deportation proceeding. Traffic violations, including drunk driving, generally do not rise to the level of offense leading to removal efforts. However, the following crimes can make you a party to a deportation proceeding:

    Drug offenses, such as possession, sale or trafficking, and manufacturing or cultivation
    • Firearms crimes, including illegal possession or sale of a weapon
    • Domestic violence
    • Sex crimes, such as rape, molestation, prostitution or solicitation, or child pornography offenses
    • Violent crimes, including assault and homicide
    • Kidnapping

Taking Steps to Protect Your Rights

When you have been charged with a criminal offense as a green card holder, your first step should be to contact an experienced attorney. You will be entitled to a phone call when taken into custody. Use that call to contact your lawyer and request that they come to the police station.

Once you have been taken into custody, you have certain constitutional rights. The police must notify you of your Miranda rights, which include the right to remain silent, and the right to have an attorney present. It is important that you exercise your right not to talk with police. Even though the American criminal justice system is based on the belief that you are innocent until proven guilty, the police will exert more energy to establish your guilt than to prove your innocence.

If you are merely under investigation and the police show up at your home, you do not have to allow them in, unless they have a valid search warrant. Don’t let them come in if they don’t have one. Anything that they see that they can reasonably argue gave them a suspicion of criminal activity will be the basis for an immediate search, and a warrant won’t be necessary.

Contact Our Office

At Laguna Reyes Maloney, LLP, we provide a free initial consultation to every client. To arrange a private meeting with an experienced Pennsylvania criminal defense attorney, contact us online.

Felony DUI in Pennsylvania

In Pennsylvania, most DUI charges, even if you are a multiple offender, are treated as misdemeanors. Even if you are arrested for a third DUI offense with the highest blood alcohol content penalties, you will only be charged with a first degree misdemeanor, with a possible prison sentence of one to five years, the suspension of your license for up to 18 months and a potential fine of $10,000. To be charged with a felony DUI in Pennsylvania, you must be charged with drinking and driving, and it must be shown that, while driving intoxicated, you caused bodily injury (including death) to another person.

Though felony DUI cases are rare, they are high profile cases that prosecutors love to exploit. If you have been charged with felony driving under the influence, you need to take appropriate steps to protect your interests.

• Hire an experienced lawyer — Just because you failed a breathalyzer or blood alcohol content (BAC) test does not mean that you have no defenses, and should plead guilty and throw yourself on the mercy of the court. Police and prosecutors make mistakes all the time. In their haste to accumulate arrests and convictions, they may violate your most basic rights. Police may pull you over without establishing probable cause. They may take you into custody without properly advising you of your Miranda rights. They may use illegal or incorrect field sobriety tests, or may take steps that compromise the integrity or validity of breathalyzer or blood alcohol tests.

• Say as little as possible — You have a constitutional right to remain silent. Exercise it. The police may use a variety of tactics to get you to talk, telling you that they are simply trying to help, or threatening you with greater sanctions if you don’t cooperate. Don’t talk to police until you have your lawyer present.

• Don’t help the police do their job — Don’t mistakenly believe that you can clear everything up, if the police will just listen to you. In almost every situation, you will end up making things worse. Your lawyer is trained to protect your rights, and won’t inadvertently make statements that tend to incriminate you.

At Laguna Reyes Maloney, LLP, all prospective clients are entitled to a free initial consultation. Contact us by e-mail or call us at 717-233-5292 to schedule a meeting with one of our attorneys. We speak Spanish and understand the impact a criminal charge can have on your efforts to become or remain a permanent citizen.

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