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.

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.

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.

When You Have Been Stopped for or Charged with DUI for the First Time

It can happen to just about anyone. You go out to dinner or stop at a friend’s house. You have a couple of beers or a glass or two of wine. On the way home, you get stopped by police, who ask if you have had anything to drink. When you answer honestly, they ask you to submit to field sobriety tests, or may immediately request that you take a breathalyzer or blood alcohol. If you haven’t been charged yet, what can you do? If you agree to take the test and your blood alcohol exceeds the legal limit, what are your options?

If you haven’t been arrested yet, but have just been pulled over, the first question you should ask is why the police officer made the traffic stop. Law enforcement officers must have probable cause to pull you over. You must have committed a traffic violation or the officer must have reasonable belief that you have violated the law. You don’t need to get into a debate with the officer over whether or not there was good cause to pull you over, but your attorney will want this information.

If the police officer requests a field sobriety or blood alcohol test, can you legally refuse? The answer is yes. Pennsylvania has an implied consent law, which states that anyone who operates a motor vehicle on the roadways in the state impliedly consents to chemical testing to determine blood alcohol content. Even so, you still have the right to refuse to take the test. However, the consequences of refusal can be significant. You will lose your driving privileges for a minimum of one year, and your charge will be placed in a higher tier for purposes of sentencing, which means your punishment will likely be more severe.

If you take a breathalyzer or blood alcohol test and fail, you still have rights. Don’t think that you should just plead guilty and throw yourself on the mercy of the court. Your lawyer can still examine the facts and circumstances of your arrest, to determine whether your constitutional rights were violated. If the police lacked probable cause to stop you, or failed to advise you of your rights when taking you into custody, some or all evidence obtained may be inadmissible in court. Furthermore, field sobriety and BAC tests may have been improperly conducted, or the test results may have been compromised.

At Laguna Reyes Maloney, LLP, we prove a free initial consultation to every client. 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.

Field Sobriety Tests and DUI Arrests

Harrisburg DUI Defense Attorneys

Most people that have been arrested on a charge of drunk driving don’t stop to think about their field sobriety test and whether it should be challenged. Too often people arrested for DUI assume that a failed field sobriety test constitutes additional proof against them that they were driving drunk. What most people arrested for DUI don’t realize is a field sobriety test must be given according to a certain protocol. Some police departments require officers to be trained in how to properly conduct a field sobriety test; others, however, do not. Since field sobriety tests are used to establish probable cause to administer a breath test or make a DUI arrest, if conducted improperly the court may be compelled to dismiss the DUI charge against you.

Conducting a Field Sobriety Test – Issues to Consider

Most police departments use the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s DWI Detection and Standardized Field Sobriety Testing Student Manual when training officers in how to conduct field sobriety tests. The manual is technical and thorough in places, specifying the conditions under which a field sobriety test must be given as well as what an officer is supposed to do if a suspect stops momentarily, shifts his or her weight, or raises his or her arms above a certain height. Field sobriety tests are supposed to be given on even, dry pavement. As such, whether or not your test was given on a slight incline, if it was raining or snowing at the time, or if there was broken pavement in the area may determine whether or not your field sobriety test can be used against you.

How Reliable are Field Sobriety Tests?

A common criticism of the field sobriety test is that it’s simply not reliable enough. First, the officer who administers it acts as your judge and jury: he’s the one that conducts the test AND the one who judges whether or not you passed it. As such, you’re at the mercy of the knowledge and skill of the officer who conducts the test.

Secondly, in a study conducted by S. Cole & R.H. Nowaczyk, officers were asked to watch a film of 21 people with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.00 perform the field sobriety test. Of the officers selected to participate in the study, 46% thought the people on film had had too much to drink. This raises serious questions about the reliability of the field sobriety test and the ability of officers to make a good determination of whether or not someone has failed it.

Arrested on a DUI Charge? Contact Laguna Reyes Maloney, LLC

If you’ve been arrested for DUI, contact Harrisburg DUI defense attorneys at Laguna Reyes Maloney, LLC today. We can evaluate your DUI case and determine if there is good reason to believe your field sobriety test was administered improperly.

The Importance Of An ALR Hearing

If you have been charged with drinking and driving in Pennsylvania, you will face an administrative proceeding regarding the suspension or revocation of your license, as well as a criminal hearing to determine guilt or innocence, and any penalties to be assessed. At the administrative proceeding, you may be assessed additional penalties if your blood alcohol level was greater than .08% or you refused to take a breathalyzer test. Your license could be suspended anywhere from 6 months to 18 months, depending on how many times you have been convicted.

At the ALR hearing, you will have the opportunity to show why your driving privileges should not be suspended. At this hearing, you can request a conditional occupational license, which will allow you to continue to operate a motor vehicle for limited purposes, including driving to and from work, to the doctor’s office or to other essential appointments. You can challenge efforts to have your driving privileges suspended, but you must request a proper hearing to do so. The request must be made within 10 days of your arrest on DUI charges.

When you challenge the revocation or suspension of your license at an ALR hearing, you can make many of the same arguments available in other criminal proceedings. You can challenge the traffic stop, alleging that police did not have probable cause to pull you over. You can question the legality of field sobriety or breath/blood alcohol tests. Successfully challenging the administrative revocation or suspension of your license can allow you to keep your job and maintain your lifestyle.

At Laguna Reyes Maloney, LLP, every client receives 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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