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Driving under the Influence of Drugs in Pennsylvania

Drinking, Drugs and Driving

So you’ve been stopped by police on the roadway in Pennsylvania and it’s determined that you are operating your motor vehicle after having taken a prescription drug, one that was legally prescribed for you. Are you in violation of the law? What are the potential consequences?

In Pennsylvania, as in other states, there are laws, similar to DUI laws, which make it illegal to drive under the influence of drugs (DUID). Pennsylvania is considered to be a “zero tolerance” state with respect to driving under the influence of controlled substances.

According to Section 75-3802 of the Pennsylvania statutes, you may not be in actual control of the movement of a motor vehicle if there is “any amount” of a prohibited substance in your blood. Accordingly, a police officer can pull you over and can arrest you based on any reasonable suspicion that you are under the influence of a banned substance. The statute does not require actual evidence of impaired driving—a police officer may make the stop and arrest on any reasonable evidence.

Under Pennsylvania law, you can face a DUID charge if you have any trace of any controlled substance regulated by the federal government in your bloodstream. However, the drug does not need to be on the list of controlled substances, but need only be shown to have impaired your ability to drive. Pennsylvania recognizes the implied consent rule, which holds that, by getting behind the wheel of a motor vehicle, you impliedly consent to take a blood test when there’s probable cause to suspect driving under the influence. If you refuse, that evidence can be used against you at trial.

Contact Attorney Michael Curtis Greenberg

Don’t lose your license or go to jail. Let us fight to protect your rights!

There’s no charge for your first consultation. We are available to meet with you evenings and weekends, if necessary, and can travel to your home or to detention to discuss your case. We accept all credit cards, as well as PayPal.

To schedule an appointment, contact us by e-mail or call our office at 855-598-3650.

Named One of the Top 100 New Jersey Criminal Trial Lawyers in 2015
by
The American Society of Legal Advocates

Driving under the Influence of Drugs in New Jersey

Drinking, Drugs and Driving

There’s a lot of emphasis on drinking and driving, but New Jersey also has a law that prohibits driving under the influence of drugs. According to NJSA 39:4-50, it is illegal to operate any motor vehicle “while under the influence of a narcotic, hallucinogenic or habit-producing drug.” Unlike laws governing drinking and driving, there are no specified levels of intoxication or influence, and there’s no blood testing standard by which you can be found guilty. Instead, the determination of impairment is made on a case-by-case basis, and is often entirely at the discretion of the arresting officer or prosecutor.

Furthermore, the law doesn’t identify specific drugs that can lead to prosecution. In practice, though, prosecutors typically consider any drug regulated as a controlled substance to be grounds for a DUID (driving under the influence of drugs) prosecution. Accordingly, this means that you could be charged with impaired driving if you were under the influence of prescription drugs that you were legally taking.

If you are pulled over and charged with operating a motor vehicle under the influence of drugs, you can face prosecution in a manner similar to being charged with drinking and driving. You can also expect that the penalties imposed will be comparable to those for a drunk driving conviction.

Contact the Law Office of Michael Curtis Greenberg

Don’t lose your license or go to jail. Let us fight to protect your rights!

There’s no charge for your first consultation. We are available to meet with you evenings and weekends, if necessary, and can travel to your home or to detention to discuss your case. We accept all credit cards, as well as PayPal.

To schedule an appointment, contact us by e-mail or call our office at 855-598-3650.

Named One of the Top 100 New Jersey Criminal Trial Lawyers in 2015
by
The American Society of Legal Advocates

Should You Contest a Traffic Ticket?

should-you-contest-a-traffic-ticketIf you’ve been pulled over for a traffic violation, you may believe that your only option, unless there are highly unusual circumstances, is to simply pay your fine and move forward. In some instances, that may ultimately be the best approach. But you should consider all your options first. Here are some of the consequences of challenging or not challenging a ticket.

Accepting and Paying the Ticket

If you simply pay your fine, not only will your wallet be significantly lighter, but the traffic citation will appear on your driving record. If you have prior traffic violations, that could put you at risk of suspension of your driving privileges. In addition, you may face substantially higher motor vehicle insurance premiums, and may have to lay out a lot of cash and a lot of time to attend a traffic school.

Challenging the Ticket

On the other hand, if you choose to challenge the ticket, you’ll need to set aside time to prepare for your court appearance, and to appear in court. Simply going to court to make your case can take the better part of a day, as you will have to appear at the beginning of the session and wait until your case is called. You may also have to take the stand and challenge the statements or assertions off the police officer who wrote the ticket. And there’s still the chance that you’ll lose and have to pay the fine and any increased insurance premiums. Furthermore, if hire legal counsel to handle your case—the best strategy—you’ll also incur legal expenses.

If the ticket carries a potential jail sentence, substantial fines or the risk of significantly higher insurance premiums, it’s probably in your best interests to fight the ticket. In either instance, you should contact an experienced lawyer for advice.

Contact the Law Office of Michael Curtis Greenberg

You don’t have to lose your license or go to jail. Let attorney Greenberg fight to protect your rights!

Your first consultation is free. We’ll meet with you evenings and weekends, if necessary, and can travel to your home or to detention to discuss your case. We take all credit cards, as well as PayPal.

For an appointment, contact us by e-mail or call our office at 855-598-3650.

Named One of the Top 100 New Jersey Criminal Trial Lawyers in 2015
by
The American Society of Legal Advocates

Harassment as a Disorderly Persons Offense

harassment-as-a-disorderly-persons-offenseIn the heat of a dispute, your emotions can get the best of you and you can say or do things you regret later. Often, that can take the form of epithets or profane language, and your anger may even cause you to threaten physical harm to another person. You need to be careful, though, as you might engage in acts that would be considered harassment under New Jersey law.

Under NJSA 2C: 33-34, you can be charged with the disorderly persons offense of harassment if you do any of the following with the intent of harassing another person:

  • Cause or make anonymous communications to that person
  • Communicate with or to that person at inconvenient hours
  • Communicate with that person in coarse language
  • Engage in any other conduct likely to cause alarm in another person

It is also considered harassment if you strike, kick, shove or offensively touch another person, or if you simply threaten to commit any of those acts for the purpose of harassing someone. You can also be charged with harassment for engaging in any course of conduct or repeated acts designed to alarm or annoy another person.

In most instances, harassment is considered a petty disorderly persons offense, with a maximum penalty of 30 days in jail and a $500 fine. However, there are two situations where harassment will automatically be bumped up to a fourth degree crime:

  • If your intention was to intimidate or harass a person because of his or her race, color, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion or status as handicapped
  • If, at the time you engaged in the harassment, you were either incarcerated or on parole/probation for an indictable offense

Contact the Law Office of Michael Curtis Greenberg

Don’t go to jail. We will fight to protect your rights!
There’s no charge for your first consultation. We are available to meet with you evenings and weekends, if necessary, and can travel to your home or to detention to discuss your case. We accept all credit cards, as well as PayPal.

To schedule an appointment, contact us by e-mail or call our office at 855-598-3650.

Named One of the Top 100 New Jersey Criminal Trial Lawyers in 2015
by
The American Society of Legal Advocates

Challenging a Breath Test in New Jersey

4. Challenging a Breath Test in New Jersey

You’d been drinking, got pulled over and submitted to a breath test, which confirmed that you were driving while under the influence. How do you go about challenging the breath test? Is there any way that can be done?

In actuality, there are a number of requirements associated with breath tests. In addition, a good defense attorney may be able to show that the equipment used was not properly calibrated, maintained or repaired. Here are just some of the steps officers have to take to ensure a valid breath test:

  • The mouthpiece on the machine must be changed between each breath (not each subject), as blood alcohol readings can be cumulative
  • The officers cannot rely on a single reading—there must be at least two readings in excess of the legal limit
  • There cannot be any radio devices, cell phones or walkie-talkies in the room where the test is conducted
  • The person being tested must be observed for at least 20 minutes prior to the test, to confirm that they did not vomit, regurgitate or even belch, as that can affect the results
  • The officer must clearly ask the driver if they’ll take the test—twice—and the driver must clearly say yes—twice

Contact Attorney Michael Curtis Greenberg

Don’t lose your license or go to jail. Let us fight to protect your rights!

There’s no charge for your first consultation. We are available to meet with you evenings and weekends, if necessary, and can travel to your home or to detention to discuss your case. We accept all credit cards, as well as PayPal.

To schedule an appointment, contact us by e-mail or call our office at (800) 608-1350.

Named One of the Top 100 New Jersey Criminal Trial Lawyers in 2015 by The American Society of Legal Advocates

What Do Police Need to Conduct a Blood Alcohol Test?

What Do Police Need to Conduct a Blood Alcohol Test

You’ve had a few beers with friends or a couple of cocktails with dinner and, on the way home, you get pulled over for a broken tail light or a minor traffic violation. You weren’t driving erratically and weren’t giving any visible signs that you were impaired. Can the police officer require that you submit to a blood alcohol test? Are there any restrictions on the officer’s discretion to order a BAC test?

Under current law in New Jersey (which has changed in the last few years), one of two things is required before you can draw someone’s blood you must either have knowing consent, or you must have a warrant. Drawing your blood is considered under the law as an invasion of your privacy, so it can’t be done without consent or a warrant.

It’s pretty common for a police officer to ask if you will submit to a blood alcohol test…and it’s your right to refuse to take the test. The simple refusal to take the test is not evidence of guilt. Nonetheless, you don’t want to refuse, as you’ll face an automatic suspension of your license. A better strategy is to submit to the test and try to challenge the reliability of the readings.

If you don’t consent, or if you are unable to consent because you are unconscious, the officer cannot make you undergo a BAC test absent a warrant. The officer can obtain what is known as a “telephonic warrant,” where the officer calls a judge, describes the situation and obtains a verbal warrant over the phone.

Contact the Law Office of Michael Curtis Greenberg

Don’t lose your license or go to jail. Let us fight to protect your rights!

There’s no charge for your first consultation. We are available to meet with you evenings and weekends, if necessary, and can travel to your home or to detention to discuss your case. We accept all credit cards, as well as PayPal.

To schedule an appointment, contact us by e-mail or call our office at (800) 608-1350.

Named One of the Top 100 New Jersey Criminal Trial Lawyers in 2015 by The American Society of Legal Advocates

What Happens if You Refuse to Take a Chemical Test in New Jersey?

Chemical Test

When you are stopped by police for suspicion of drinking and driving, the officer may ask you to submit to a field sobriety test or, based on observations, may ask you to take a chemical test. What happens if you refuse to take the test?

New Jersey has an implied consent law. That means that when you get behind the wheel, you consent to submit to a blood test if pulled over. The test must be administered at the time of your arrest. You cannot be compelled to take a blood alcohol content (BAC) test.

If you refuse, you will automatically have your license suspended. The length of the suspension, though, will depend on how many times you have been convicted of driving while intoxicated. If it’s your first offense, the suspension will only be for a period of seven months. For a second offense, you will lose your right to drive for two years. For all subsequent convictions, you will have your license revoked for 10 years.

It’s almost never in your best interests to refuse to take a blood-alcohol test. Police can rely on other types of evidence to obtain a conviction and, if you are convicted after having refused the blood test, the penalties will be even more severe.

Contact Attorney Michael Curtis Greenberg

Don’t lose your license or go to jail. Let us fight to protect your rights!

There’s no charge for your first consultation. We are available to meet with you evenings and weekends, if necessary, and can travel to your home or to detention to discuss your case. We accept all credit cards, as well as PayPal.

To schedule an appointment, contact us by e-mail or call our office at at 855-598-3650.

Named One of the Top 100 New Jersey Criminal Trial Lawyers in 2015 by The American Society of Legal Advocates

Penalties for Drunk Driving in New Jersey

Penalties for Drunk Driving

If you’ve been cited for drunk driving in New Jersey, you’ll want to know the possible penalties for a conviction. As in other states, the potential sanctions depend on how many prior convictions you’ve had. Here’s an overview.

Penalties for All DUI/DWI Convictions

Anyone convicted of violating DUI/DWI laws in New Jersey will be required to pay the following fees:

  • A $100 surcharge to the drunk driving enforcement fund
  • A $100 fee for motor vehicle restoration
  • A $100 violent crimes compensation fee
  • A $100 Intoxicated Driver Program fee
  • A $100 state and municipality fee

First Conviction

Even if you’ve never been convicted of drinking and driving before, you can be sentenced to up to 30 days in jail for a DUI/DWI. The financial penalties can range from $250 to $00 and you can lose your license for anywhere from three months to a year. An ignition interlock may also be required by the court.

Second Conviction

If you’ve been convicted once before, you can be sentenced to up to three months of incarceration and face a fine of $500 to $1,000. Your license will be suspended for two years and you may have to have an ignition interlock installed.

All Subsequent Convictions

For all subsequent convictions, you can face up to six months in jail, a $1,000 fine and the suspension of your license for 10 years. An ignition interlock device may also be required.

Contact the Law Office of Michael Curtis Greenberg

Don’t lose your license or go to jail. Let us fight to protect your rights!

There’s no charge for your first consultation. We are available to meet with you evenings and weekends, if necessary, and can travel to your home or to detention to discuss your case. We accept all credit cards, as well as PayPal.

To schedule an appointment, contact us by e-mail or call our office at at 855-598-3650.

Named One of the Top 100 New Jersey Criminal Trial Lawyers in 2015 by The American Society of Legal Advocates

Defending a DUI Charge in New Jersey-Searches and Warnings

2. Defending a DUI Charge in New Jersey

If you have been arrested and charged with drunk driving in New Jersey, and the blood alcohol tests confirm that you exceeded the legal level when pulled over, you may still be able to successfully defend the charges. Police are required to follow a very specific set of procedures when stopping you, and often make mistakes that can warrant the dismissal of the case against you. One of the most common involves failing to meet Constitutional requirements.

Under the 4th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, all citizens have the right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure. To be reasonable, there must be what is known as the probable cause the officer making the traffic stop must either observe a traffic violation or have reasonable cause to believe that you are violating or have violated the law. In addition, if you are taken into custody, you must be advised of your “Miranda” warnings – that you have the right to remain silent, that you have the right to an attorney, that you have the right to have an attorney appointed for you if cannot afford one. If the police don’t put you on notice of your Miranda warnings, anything you subsequently say may be excluded from evidence at trial.

Contact the Law Office of Michael Curtis Greenberg

You don’t have to lose your license or go to jail. Let attorney Greenberg fight to protect your rights!

Your first consultation is free. We’ll meet with you evenings and weekends, if necessary, and can travel to your home or to detention to discuss your case. We take all credit cards, as well as PayPal.

For an appointment, contact us by e-mail or call our office at (800) 608-1350.

Named One of the Top 100 New Jersey Criminal Trial Lawyers in 2015 by The American Society of Legal Advocates

The Effect of Multiple Convictions on DUI Sentencing in Pennsylvania

Arrested and charged

When you’ve been arrested and charged with drinking and driving in Pennsylvania, one of the factors that will determine the penalties you’ll face is the number of times you have previously been convicted of drunk driving. Here are the guidelines in Pennsylvania.

First Offense

If you have never been convicted of DUI before, you won’t have to face any minimum jail time. That typically applies only if you are charged with “general impairment, where your BAC is below .10. A first conviction can lead to a $300 fine, but there is no license suspension and no ignition interlock, unless you refuse to take the blood test.

Second Offense

For a second conviction, you can be sentenced anywhere from 5 days to 6 months in jail, depending in part on your level of intoxication. The fine can be as little as $300 or as much as $2,500 and you will lose your driving privileges for 12 months. If you are given any type of restricted driving privileges, you will be required to have an ignition interlock installed on your vehicle.

Subsequent Offenses

For any additional conviction, you can face 10 days to two years of incarceration. The financial penalties range from $500 to $5,000. Your driving privileges will be suspended for a year and you’ll have to install an ignition interlock for any restricted driving.

Contact the Law Office of Michael Curtis Greenberg

You don’t have to lose your license or go to jail. Let attorney Greenberg fight to protect your rights!

Your first consultation is free. We’ll meet with you evenings and weekends, if necessary, and can travel to your home or to detention to discuss your case. We take all credit cards, as well as PayPal.

To schedule an appointment, contact us by e-mail or call our office at at 855-598-3650.

Named One of the Top 100 New Jersey Criminal Trial Lawyers in 2015 by The American Society of Legal Advocates

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