Charged with DUI on Drugs???

November 9, 2010

If you have been charged with DUI in Bucks County while under the influence of drugs, you should check out Bucks County DUI lawyer, Michael L. Saile's new webpage discussing DUI-D.

Driving under the influence of drugs has been getting more and more popular in the last several years. Pennsylvania police have new training procedures and certifications to attempt to detect the type of drug you may have ingested. Drug Recognition Experts can testify against you in court.

Believe it or not, you can be found guilty of DUI in Bucks County, Pennsylvania for being impaired by legal, over-the-counter drugs. Certain drugs including prescription drugs in combination with alcohol cause impairment worse than either alcohol or the drug by itself.

The Bucks County District Attorney’s Office may hire a scientist to testify that the combination of drugs and alcohol caused you to become more impaired. If you have been charged with DUI-D or drug related DUI in Bucks County, PA check out our new web page here.

Contact the Bucks County law office of Saile & Saile LLP for a free DUI Roadmap Consultation involving your Bucks County drug related DUI.


Bucks County criminal courts do not always grant time served for inpatient rehab treatment…

October 14, 2010

A friendly warning…don’t assume you are going to get “time served” for your Bucks County DUI case if you checked yourself into an inpatient rehab facility. If you are charged with DUI in Pennsylvania, there is a chance you can avoid mandatory jail time if you spend time in an inpatient rehabilitation center.

Time served is a term commonly used in criminal court when a judge will apply time that you previously spent in a rehab center or time that you previously spent in jail to your current jail sentence. Pennsylvania law requires criminal judges to consider time spent in an inpatient rehab center as jail time. “Consider” does not mean “grant” time served!

An inpatient rehab program is a type of rehab program where you stay overnight participating in full-time rehabilitation, classes, counseling, and other recovery activities.

We had a recent case where a client was charged with DUI in Bucks County. She was charged as a first time offender, but was not eligible for the Bucks County first offender’s program known as ARD. She was facing a 72-hour minimum stay in the Bucks County prison. At the time of her Bucks County DUI arrest our client had addiction problems. Her family checked her into a 22-day inpatient rehab program. When she successfully completed the DUI rehab program she, among other things, attended 4-5 Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) classes a week.

Because our client had a prior DUI conviction many years ago, the Bucks County Common Pleas Court judge properly considered the inpatient rehab as time served, but denied her time served…just a little lesson on DUI cases in Bucks County. For this reason and many other reasons, hire a local Bucks County DUI attorney for your Bucks County DUI case.


MADD and its new DUI curbing efforts

September 29, 2010

MADD turns 30

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) has been in operation for 30 years. We, drivers and passengers on U.S. roadways, should not only congratulate them, but perhaps also thank them. They made us aware of the serious dangers of driving under the influence (DUI), as well as the number of innocent victims killed by drunk drivers every day in DUI related car accidents.

Since the group formed in 1980, drunk-driving related fatalities have dropped by over 40%. Even more relevant, between the years 2006 and 2009, car accident deaths associated with drunk driving dropped 20%.

While great success has been achieved in reducing the number of drunk-driving car accidents and fatalities, impaired drivers are still to blame for nearly one-third of all car accident deaths. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 32 people in the U.S. die every day in car accidents caused by an alcohol-impaired driver. That is over 11,000 drunk-driving fatalities each year.

MADD continues to advocate for the passage of tough drunk driving laws, push for stronger enforcement of existing laws, as well as remind Americans that it is not okay to drink and drive. 

Michael L. Saile, Jr., Esq. of  Saile & Saile LLP is a Bucks County DUI lawyer.  He does not promote driving under the influence or believe it is in any way acceptable behavior.  Mr. Saile's goal is to educate his clients so that they understand the grave consequences of driving under the influence so that they will never drive impaired again.  


Another horrific Bucks County DUI accident kills two and injures two

August 16, 2010

This past weekend, a car full load of teenagers were speeding down in Route 1, in Middletown Township, lower Bucks County, PA. Middletown Township police actually clocked the case at speeds of over 90 in the posted 55 m.p.h. zone on Route 1. Middletown Township police attempted to stop the vehicle but could not catch up and called off the chase. While exiting Route 1 in Penndel, the vehicle collided with a brick wall of a building. Two passengers were tragically killed and the driver and another passenger are injured. The driver of the vehicle was able to walk out of the car and walk away until police apprehended him.

Police found alcohol, empty bottles, and controlled substances in the vehicle. If the investigating police officers can prove that the driver was driving under the influence (DUI), chances are he will be charged with the death of two and injuring a third person. The jail sentence in these types DUI death cases should be well over two years in a Pennsylvania State Penitentiary. Perhaps the worst sentence will be that the driver will have to live with killing two of his friends and injuring another.

The families of the two fatal victims of this Bucks County DUI accident would have a wrongful death case against the driver, whether he was drunk or not. The other injured person would have a strong Bucks County personal injury case against the driver of the car. Unfortunately, in many of these types of tragic accidents, there is not adequate insurance coverage to cover all injury or wrongful death claims.

The attorneys at Saile & Saile LLP are not currently representing the individuals involved in this accident. The source of this information is from the Bucks County Courier Times. If you have been involved in this incident it is important to contact an experienced Bucks County injury lawyer or DUI lawyer before your rights are compromised.


Bucks County may own its own DUI testing lab…

June 1, 2010

The Bucks County Courier Times reports that the new Bucks County District Attorney, David Heckler, has requested and may get his own chemical testing crime lab. The main job of this crime lab would be to test Bucks County DUI defendants for blood alcohol content (BAC) and controlled substances. It has been reported that Bucks County currently pays a private lab about $250,000 a year to test blood samples. The Bucks County District Attorney's new crime lab is estimated to save the County about $90,000 a year when it is up and running. The new crime lab would cost Bucks County about $200,000 to set up.

A DUI suspect may be tested for DUI in Bucks County, Pennsylvania by either supplying a blood sample or by providing a breath sample at the police station. In addition to blood and breath tests, a Bucks County DUI suspect's urine may be tested. The arresting police officer has the option as to which DUI test he or she desires to conduct. Most local police officers and Pennsylvania State Police officers assigned to Bucks County opt to have the DUI suspect give blood and sometimes urine at the closest hospital. The blood and/or urine sample is then taken to the lab for testing.

Should the District Attorney's Office crime lab be trusted to test the 3,500 or so DUI defendants' blood or urine? Should Bucks County DUI suspects' blood only be tested by an independent laboratory? What is independent? If Bucks County pays the independent lab $250,000 a year, is the lab really independent?

As a defense attorney, I would certainly advise my clients that they have the option of having their own blood tested by an independent source. What are your thoughts on this topic?


PA police will be using Airplanes against speeders…

May 27, 2010

To help increase safety of all persons on the road and reduce the number of injuries from Pennsylvania car accidents and accident fatalities, PennDOT and the Pennsylvania State Police will be rolling out their Air, Land, and Speed campaign. This campaign will work hand-in-hand with the Click It or Ticket seat belt enforcement program. This dual approach to roadway safety focuses on reminding motorists to drive at safe speeds and to buckle up, two very important factors which aid in avoiding car accident injuries and even death.

The Air, Land, and Speed campaign utilizes aircraft to register motorists' speed. The aerial police then instruct state troopers via radio to make the traffic stop to issue Pennsylvania speeding tickets. Local municipalities will also have police deployed in full force along targeted roadways to further the PA speeding ticket enforcement effort. People who drive carelessly or at excessive speeds often do so because they are driving under the influence (DUI) in Pennsylvania. Car accidents caused by those who drive drunk are often very serious and can cause life altering personal injuries to those unfortunate enough to be a victim of a Pennsylvania drunk driving car accident.

Keep an eye to the skies this weekend, you just may be being watched! If you are charged with a speeding ticket in Bucks County, PA, hire an experienced traffic violation lawyer such as Michael L. Saile, Jr., Esq. Many times we can reduce or eliminate your PennDot driving points.


Michael L. Saile, Jr. is quoted in major Bucks County newspaper DUI article

May 17, 2010

This past Sunday, the Bucks County Courier Times ran a series of front section, and even a front page articles written by Ben Finley about DUI arrests in Bucks County, PA. The first (front page) article titled "Drivers take to the roads drunk" stated that DUI is the most charged crime in Bucks County and that Pennsylvania had a record number of DUI arrests last year.

One of Michael L. Saile Jr.'s DUI clients, "a 22-year old", was interviewed by reporter, Ben Finley, about his experience with the DUI process in Bucks County, PA. Mr. Saile was quoted several times along with Assistant District Attorney, Robert Salzer, Newtown Township police officer, Tim Keegan, and toxicologist, Gary Lange. You can link to the article here: Bucks County Courier Times.

In the second article titled "Tips for staying sober behind the wheel", Mr. Saile gives some tips on how to drink responsibility without reaching the "under the influence" point. It is very hard to predict or measure a person's blood alcohol content (BAC). Even the most sophisticated testing process yield error.

Some of Mr. Saile's tips include: eating a full meal before drinking alcohol, counting your alcoholic drinks, keeping track of the amount of alcohol the bartender is pouring in your drinks, alternating water between alcohol drinks, and have no shots or martinis if you are driving. You can find the second article here: Bucks County Courier Times.

If you are charged with DUI in Bucks County, hire an experienced and knowledgeable DUI lawyer. Contact us to set up a free DUI case consultation and provide us with your DUI arrest information here: case submission form.


Can you get into the Bucks County DUI-ARD program if you have been involved in a Bucks County Car Accident?

May 11, 2010

There are a few state-wide exclusions for the Pennsylvania first offender's program for DUI (otherwise known as the ARD Program). Being involved in a Pennsylvania car accident is not one of the state-wide exclusions.

Pennsylvania law allows each county's district attorney's office to run their county's DUI ARD Program. The Bucks County District attorney's ARD program is known to be one of the tougher Pennsylvania ARD-DUI Programs to gain admittance. Bucks County has its own ARD Program rules for DUI cases.

Bucks County had a longstanding policy not to allow DUI defendants admittance to its ARD-DUI Program if the DUI defendant was involved in a Bucks County car accident. Even if the Bucks County DUI defendant did not cause the car accident, the DUI defendant would be prevented from the ARD Program.

In the past few years, we at Saile & Saile LLP have been successful in obtaining admittance of our clients into the Bucks County ARD Program when they have been involved in a car accident in Bucks County. These clients have been individuals who have been arrested for DUI in Bucks County and who have not caused the Bucks County car accident.

Recently there has been a new District Attorney elected in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. The new Bucks County D.A. has made a few improvements to Bucks County criminal procedure. Perhaps the new Bucks County D.A. will allow more Bucks County DUI defendants into the Bucks County DUI-ARD program?

There are many Bucks County car accidents caused by people arrested for DUI that involve no personal injuries. These accidents often involve only minimal property damage. These Bucks County DUI defendants should be admitted to the Bucks County DUI-ARD program. What do you think?

If you have been involved in a Bucks County DUI, do not wait and jeopardize your rights, contact us for an aggressive and experienced DUI defense and guidance.


Philadelphia may de-criminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana…

April 13, 2010

There is an effort afoot in Philadelphia to reduce the penalty for possessing small amounts of marijuana for personal use. The effort is being led by Philadelphia's new District Attorney, Seth Williams. This is one way, according to Williams, to ease the crowding of Philadelphia courts.

In late April 2010, a policy will be put into effect in which those in possession of up to 30 grams of marijuana with be charged with only a summary offense. This means that those individuals charged with minor possession may be required to pay a fine, but they will not gain a criminal record. The fines will most likely be set at $200 for first offenses and $300 for subsequent offenses, though these figures have not yet been formalized.

As possession of marijuana remains illegal, those charged with possession for personal use will continue to be arrested. Their cases, however, will be heard in summary court and not criminal court.

The idea behind stepping-down the charge of possession of marijuana from misdemeanor to summary offense is to clear the nearly 3,000 yearly cases dealing with limited marijuana possession from the court dockets. By keeping the small-time offenses to a minimum, Philadelphia's courts are freed up to concentrate on more serious cases such as big-time drug traffickers, as opposed to recreational users.

The new Philadelphia District Attorney Williams is actually working with two of Pennsylvania's Supreme Court justices, Chief Justice Ronald D. Castille and Justice Seamus McCaffery, on this matter and a number of other reforms to Philadelphia's criminal justice system.

Perhaps Philadelphia's precedents will encourage a state-wide shift in criminal justice procedures. Do you think de-criminalizing marijuana possession is a good idea?


New Bucks County DUI ARD procedure…

March 29, 2010

If you are offered ARD (Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition or commonly known as the "First Offender's Program") for your Bucks County DUI offense, your deal may have just gotten sweeter. The new Bucks County District Attorney has made some changes to Bucks County criminal procedure. The change to the ARD-DUI procedure was much needed.

First, Bucks County ARD DUI cases are now being consolidated and are scheduled for court only two days per week now (usually Wednesday and Thursday) as opposed to five days per week. In addition, the DUI-ARD cases are now separated from the other Bucks County criminal cases, including DUI guilty pleas, DUI motion hearings, and DUI trials. DUI Court still meets at 9:00 a.m. For the first half hour or so the DUI defendants and their attorneys go over and sign the ARD Agreement. A judge will then take the bench and go through the ARD colloquy and soon enough the ARD procedure is over.

In my experience the first few weeks of this new Bucks County ARD procedure was not any more efficient than the "old" way. Now, the court and the Bucks County District Attorney's Office have got the procedure down. If we just had more judges, the remainder of the Bucks County DUI cases would also run efficiently. Hopefully the new DA will make some more changes!


Can you really get a DUI without driving?

March 24, 2010

As we already know, Driving Under the Influence (DUI) is a criminal offense in Pennsylvania and Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) is a serious traffic offense in New Jersey. In the state of Minnesota a DUI conviction was issued against a man who was not driving. Although he appealed the lower court's ruling, the Supreme Court of Minnesota upheld the DUI conviction.

Daryl Fleck of Minnesota was found by a neighbor to be asleep in his car with the driver's side door open. Mr. Fleck's car sat legally parked in the parking lot of his apartment building. The police who responded to the neighbor's call found that Fleck's car was not running and that the engine was cold. Furthermore, the keys were absent from the ignition and instead were found inside the center console.

Fleck, however, was proven to be intoxicated as his blood-alcohol level was .18 (Minnesota's legal blood-alcohol limit is .08). He also had a history of prior DUI convictions. Yet, there was no proof that he had driven on this given evening in 2007. It appeared only that he was "sleeping off" a night of drinking that had taken place in his home. Still, for this offense he received a felony conviction for DUI which landed him in jail for 48 months and required him to serve five years of probation.

Mr. Fleck appealed the court's decision all the way up to the Minnesota Supreme Court. The conviction was upheld by the high court, based upon a ruling from 1992 which applied the concept of "physical control", meaning that a person's ability to drive may be greatly affected but they still have control of the vehicle. The Court found Fleck to be in control of the vehicle because he was in a position to start up the engine and drive the car since the vehicle and keys were available to him. Intent to drive (or not drive) did not come into play, even though police were unable to get Fleck's car to start.

Pennsylvania DUI law also incorporates "physical control" language into its DUI statutes: "An individual may not drive, operate or be in actual physical control of the movement of a vehicle after imbibing a sufficient amount of alcohol such that the individual is rendered incapable of safely driving, operating or being in actual physical control of the movement of the vehicle." (PA code section 3802)

To some, a DUI conviction based upon the assumption that because car keys are available to a drunk person they are going to use them is absurd. In cases such as these, where a person takes shelter in his car and refrains from driving, does it seem the person was acting more responsibly than irresponsibly? With news of convictions such as Mr. Fleck's, people may just opt to drive if they know there is a chance they will be charged with DUI anyway for "waiting it out" in their car. How does that keep us any safer?

If you are facing a Bucks County, PA DUI charge of any sort, contact a lawyer with a vast amount of experience in Pennsylvania DUI matters. Call Michael L. Saile, Jr. for a free, in-office consultation.


New Jersey legalizes medical marijuana…will it cause a spike in drunk driving arrests?

February 3, 2010

New Jersey's Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act attained passage by both the New Jersey Assembly and the State Senate on Monday, January 11, 2010. Governor Jon Corzine signed the bill into law on Monday, January 18, 2010 just a day before leaving office. This new law allows chronically ill patients access to marijuana for medicinal uses. There are now 14 states with a medical marijuana law on its books. The law is scheduled to go into effected in six months.

In the eyes of many, this is a very liberal leaning law. However, New Jersey's medical marijuana law is the most restrictive and tightly controlled in the nation. It is believed it will quickly become a model for other states considering passage of such a law.

The legislation permits only those patients afflicted with certain diseases, including but not limited to multiple sclerosis, cancer, glaucoma, AIDS, muscular dystrophy, and ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease), to obtain medical marijuana. A doctor's prescription is mandatory and only two ounces of the drug per month is permitted to be dispensed to patients suffering with severe pain, nausea, seizures, muscle spasms or extreme loss of weight and/or muscle tissue brought on by their chronic disease.

Unlike in California, where anyone with a "recommendation" from their doctor is permitted to use, possess, and/or grow medical marijuana, the growing of marijuana is strictly prohibited under the New Jersey law, as is using the drug in public. Along the same line, a qualifying medical marijuana patient who is caught driving while high is not exempted from a DWI (driving while intoxicated) arrest. Driving under the influence of marijuana remains illegal and is subject to the penalties associated with the highest levels of blood alcohol content (B.A.C.).

The state of New Jersey will implement a strict registry ID card system for users of medical marijuana. Only those patients suffering with a condition set forth within the parameters of the law who have a written prescription from their doctor will be permitted to obtain the drug. Further, all marijuana dispensaries in New Jersey will be heavily monitored by the state. An additional restriction requires all caregivers who may have to procure the drug on behalf of an ill person to undergo criminal background checks.

Recent Gallup Polls show that over 70% of Americans favor marijuana being legalized for medical use, that is doctors legally prescribing marijuana to patients who suffer terrible pain due to their illnesses. There are many happy people in New Jersey with the passage of this law, feeling that they no longer have to engage in a criminal act just to realize relief from insufferable pain. It appears more and more Americans are growing sympathetic to their plight. Public sentiment would also suggest it is a law whose time has come. Where do you stand on the issue?


2 hit-and-run victims, same alleged drunk driver

February 1, 2010

In the early hours of January 8, 2010, Chelsea Murningham, 21 of Philadelphia, was the victim of a hit-and-run accident. So was Brian Reilly, of Penndel, Bucks County. They were each victims of alleged drunk driver Michael Saunders, of Philadelphia.

As he was leaving Albert's Café on Grant Avenue in Northeast Philadelphia, Michael Saunders hit and knocked over Ms. Murningham in the parking lot and then fled the scene. While other bar patrons were gathered around Ms. Murningham in the parking lot in an attempt to provide her aid, Mr. Saunders drove back into the lot. He sped in his minivan toward the gathered crowd and ran over 23-year old Brian Reilly.

Ms. Murningham was left with bruising on her right hip, as well as shoulder, lower back, leg, and neck pain.

Mr. Reilly was actually pinned underneath Saunders' minivan. He suffered a broken bone in his left arm, a dislocated left shoulder injury, a black eye, facial swelling, and extensive bruising on his back. Mr. Reilly must remain in an upper body brace in order for his left arm to remain in place and heal.

As for Mr. Saunders, in addition to inflicting bodily harm upon two individuals in the parking lot of the restaurant that evening, he is also responsible for causing property damage. As Saunders was attempting to leave the premises, before he hit Ms. Murningham, he crashed into a parked car. The owner of that car was present; he and Saunders got into an argument. Saunders proceeded to intentionally bang into that man's car five more times with his minivan.

After hitting the man's car repeatedly, Mr. Saunders hit two other vehicles parked in the lot, just before he hit Ms. Murningham. Saunders fled the scene after hitting her. He returned to the parking lot within minutes, which is when he ran over Mr. Reilly. Saunders fled, yet again. Mr. Reilly was transported to Aria Health at Torresdale while Philadelphia police caught up with and apprehended Saunders in front of his Philadelphia home.

Mr. Saunders was charged with driving under the influence and many felony counts, including attempted homicide and aggravated assault. He is also charged with risking a catastrophe.


New Bucks County, PA DUI ARD procedure!!!

January 21, 2010

Congratulations to the new Bucks County District Attorney for improving the court procedure for DUI matters in the Bucks County Common Pleas Court. The Bucks County Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) cases are now being adjudicated in a separate courtroom than the remainder of the Bucks County criminal cases.

In the past, all Bucks County criminal cases called to court on a particular morning were initially directed to Courtroom #1. The list of the all the criminal cases were called by a judge and then the court would address various issues regarding the cases. After a short break, the Bucks County ARD cases were then called forward and were addressed by the court. The remainder of the Bucks County criminal cases, which included guilty pleas, had to wait and wait until the cases were called to the attention of the court. Many times guilty pleas in were not heard by the court for the purposes of sentencing until mid-afternoon.

The new Bucks County ARD procedure is much improved. Much like Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, the DUI-ARD cases are called to a different courtroom and are adjudicated separately from the other Bucks County criminal matters. This new procedure should speed up the criminal court process, assuming that there are available judges. The Bucks County Court of Common Pleas is short on judges. Hopefully this year, there will be more available judges for court matters.

Contact us, Bucks County DUI attorneys if you are interested in being admitted to the ARD program if you are charged with a DUI in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.


NJ’s new Ignition Interlock legislation passes the Assembly & Senate!

January 11, 2010

Good news for New Jersey drivers! This evening, Ricci's Law has passed both the Assembly and the Senate with flying colors. Ricci's law is New Jersey's new Ignition Interlock law. For those of you who do not know, an ignition interlock device prevents intoxicated drivers from starting a vehicle's ignition if their blood alcohol content (BAC) is above a certain level. It is expected that Governor Corzine will enact Ricci's Law before he leaves office this month.

Currently, ignition interlock is part of New Jersey's DWI law. Unfortunately for the past few years, NJ's ignition interlock law was optional and it was up to local Municipal Court judges to apply the law when sentencing DWI offenders. Most NJ Municipal Court judges did not order ignition interlock on DWI offender's vehicles.

Ricci's Law will now make ignition interlock mandatory on most DWI offender's vehicles, including 1st offenders with a BAC above 0.15%. States across the country are enacting mandatory ignition interlock laws for all DUI/DWI offenders. The federal government will soon be passing legislation that will require every state to pass ignition interlock laws for all DUI/DWI offenders' vehicles. Each state that does not comply with the soon to be enacted federal law will lose millions of dollars of federal highway money each year. No state can afford this! In 2009, Pennsylvania legislators introduced 9 ignition interlock bills.

What do you think about ignition interlocks? Do you approve of the use of ignition interlocks on all DUI/DWI offenders' vehicles or is it just another addition to the harsh penalties associated with drunk driving?

I believe it's a lifesaving technology and any legislature that does not utilize this lifesaving technology is reckless with public safety.


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