In Pennsylvania, DUI charges can be filed against sober young people, as a teen recently found out the hard way in Northampton County. Over Labor Day weekend this year, a 19 year old male was stopped at a DUI checkpoint. His SUV was packed with nine other students, whom he was ferrying back to DeSales University after the group had attended a party at nearby Lehigh University. The over-packed car was a Motor Vehicle Code violation in and of itself, made immeasurably worse by the fact that the designated driver had consumed a modest amount of alcohol. According to police, the designated driver's BAC was a mere .02. Although this suggests he had only one drink or had quit drinking hours ago, it is still enough to trigger a DUI in Pennsylvania if the driver is less than 21 years of age.
Lost in the debate about lowering the legal limit for DUI to .05 is one simple fact. You can ALREADY be charged with DUI under Pennsylvania law, even if your BAC is below .08. The Pennsylvania DUI law does not only criminalize driving after imbibing enough alcohol to raise one's BAC above .08 within two hours of driving, it also makes it illegal to drive drunk period.
For a long time, the legal limit for DUI in most states was a BAC of .10. By 2004, every state had lowered its DUI threshold to .08. Now, the National Transportation Safety Board is recommending that all states lower their BAC thresholds to .05. Not surprisingly, bar and restaurant owners associations are in an uproar, while Mother's Against Drunk Driving is praising the recommendation.
Not all DUIs are created equally. A 35 year old State College woman's recent misfortune provides a tutorial on just about every conceivable aggravating factor, which can be associated with a DUI, short of homicide while DUI or aggravated assault while DUI. The defendant was supposed to be in the Centre County Court of Common Pleas for sentencing on May 10, 2013. Not only did she fail to appear for sentencing, but she managed to get arrested by the Pennsylvania State Police in Perry County for a second DUI later that day. Obviously, had she begun serving her weekend in jail like she was supposed to, she would not have received a second DUI.
Marijuana legalization, or more correctly stated, re-legalization, appears to be inevitable, due to simple demographic math. Each year, more supporters of legal marijuana reach voting age, while more aging prohibitionists die off. A 2013 Pew Research Center Poll revealed that for the first time since the question was asked, a majority of Americans now favor legalizing marijuana. A whopping 65% of 18 to 32 year olds now support ending Prohibition. Thus, the question is not if, but rather, when and under what circumstances marijuana will be legalized.
Everyone knows that it is illegal to sell drugs like marijuana, cocaine and heroin, but most people are unaware that under the Pennsylvania Crimes Code, using a cell phone or email to set up a drug deal constitutes a separate and distinct criminal offense, aside from the actual drug delivery. This offense is known as "criminal use of a communications facility," and it is a third degree felony punishable by up to seven years in state prison and a $15,000 fine. Criminal use of a communications facility applies to drug sellers using devices like phones or email to set up drug deals, but it does not apply to those using such devices to buy drugs.
The Pennsylvania State Police allege that a Mifflintown was involved in an April 26, 2013, DUI accident in Juniata County. This would be a fairly unremarkable event, but for what happened after the accident. The State Police allege that the defendant tried to flee from the accident scene by swimming across the Juniata River. Unfortunately for the defendant, he did not swim faster than troopers could arrive at the scene. When he was taken into custody, he was found to have a BAC (blood alcohol content) over the legal limit of .08.
A 15 year old girl will avoid being charged with "false reports to law enforcement," despite her fabricated report of an attack by four unknown teenage boys on April 9, 2013, in Manchester, York County. The girl reported to Northeastern Regional Police that these four, fictional boys called her derogatory names and groped her, but she managed to fight them off. At the time, she was praised for her "bravery" and for keeping her wits, which allowed her to provide detailed descriptions of the hoodlums. One woman even contacted police, after news of the assault was made public, to report seeing a group of boys in the area around the time of the assault who matched the descriptions.
It's a simple scenario, which happens more often than people realize. A man and a woman live together and are in love. The man enjoys smoking marijuana or using some other drug. Maybe he even grows his own plants or maybe he sells it too. Of course, the woman partakes as well, and she might even help take care of the plants or serve customers when the man is not around. The man does something to greatly anger the woman, such as cheating on her. Suddenly, the woman is no longer cool with her now ex-boyfriend's hobby or business.
On two separate occasions this year, a man defecated at the Springettsbury Post Office in York County, PA. The first time he defecated in the lobby, while the second time, he defecated on the sidewalk next to the post office. It goes without saying that such behavior is almost always associated with either mental illness or a high degree of intoxication. Given the fact that these incidents occurred during the day and on repeated occasions at the same location, it comes as no surprise that the suspect is mentally ill.