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What Happens at a PennDOT DMV Administrative Hearing?

penndot-dmv-administrative-hearingIf you’ve been pulled over and charged with driving under the influence (DUI) in Pennsylvania, you’ll soon learn that there are two separate components to the process. You’ll ultimately have to go to court to establish your guilt or innocence and learn any criminal penalties. But there’s also a process whereby the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s (PennDOT) Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will determine whether your driving privileges will be affected. In most instances, the DMV hearing does not take place until the criminal matter has been resolved. Don’t think, though, that dismissal of the criminal charge will eliminate the need for the administrative hearing. Your license can be suspended even if charges are dropped or reduced.

When you are formally charged with a DUI, the arresting officer is required to notify PennDOT. PennDOT will then send you notice of the suspension of your license by mail. You must request a hearing with the DMV within 30 days of your receipt of the notice of suspension or your driving privileges will automatically be suspended for 12 months.

At the administrative hearing, there will be a presiding PennDOT hearing officer, who will function like a judge. In most instances, the arresting officer will be there to offer evidence against you. Unlike the criminal proceeding, where your guilt must be established beyond a reasonable doubt, the standard of proof at an administrative proceeding is probable cause—did the arresting officer have probable cause to believe that you were driving under the influence?

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

Understanding Pennsylvania’s Stalking Laws

understanding-pennsylvanias-stalking-lawsIn recent years, the state of Pennsylvania, like many other jurisdictions, has taken a strong stance against activities considered to be stalking or harassment. Under Pennsylvania law, stalking typically involves a pattern of activity, rather than a single incident. Section 2709.1 of Title 18 defines stalking as a “course of conduct or repeated acts without authorization with intent to place [a person]in reasonable fear or cause substantial emotional distress. In addition, it can be obvious and direct or more subtle, from visible confrontations or following to things like unwanted gifts, unsolicited phone calls or other forms of attention.

There’s a requirement under the Pennsylvania law that the victim of stalking show that the harassment resulted in some level of emotional distress. This is typically determined by the judge or jury, based on the facts. In most instances, a first charge of stalking will be prosecuted as a misdemeanor in the 1st degree. However, if the defendant has any prior convictions for stalking, the charges can be far more serious, and can rise to the level of a 3rd degree felony.

It’s pretty common, when a person is charged with stalking, for the victim to ask the court to issue a restraining or protective order. Such an order typically requires the “stalker” to stay a minimum distance from the victim, from the victim’s home and work, and from other places the victim is known to go. It can also limit or ban certain types of contact, including mail, phone or Internet, and can make it a violation of the order to send anything to the victim. Violation of the order is considered contempt of court and can lead to substantial fines, as well as incarceration.

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

Controlled Dangerous Substance Charges in New Jersey

controlled-dangerous-substance-charges-in-new-jerseyIf you have been arrested or are under investigation for a drug-related charge in New Jersey, it’s important that you understand some of the unique aspects of how a controlled dangerous substance (CDS) is treated under New Jersey law.

Classification of Controlled Dangerous Substances

New Jersey law places all controlled dangerous substances into one of five categories, based on their likelihood of abuse and any recognized medical value. The classifications include common recreational drugs, such as marijuana, cocaine and heroin, but can also apply to any compounds or substances used in their manufacture. Those drugs that are believed to have the greatest risk of abuse, combined with the least perceived medical value, are found in Schedule I, and those with the least risk of addiction and the greatest medical value or Schedule V CDSes.

The Potential Penalties for Possession of a Controlled Dangerous Substance

The charges faced depend on the Schedule of the CDS in your possession. Possession of any amount of a Schedule I, II, III or IV controlled dangerous substance can be prosecuted as a crime in the 3rd degree, with a potential penalty of 3-5 years in prison and a fine of up to $35,000. If the drug falls under Schedule V, you can be sentenced to up to 18 months of incarceration and a $15,000 fine.

Contact the Law Office of Michael Curtis Greenberg

Don’t lose your license or 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

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

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 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

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

Defending a DUI Charge in New Jersey – Blood Tests

DUI Charge in New Jersey-Blood Tests

When you’ve been arrested and charged with drinking and driving in New Jersey, you may want to simply be done with the legal process. To that end, you may ask your lawyer if a plea bargain can be reached. The answer—no! New Jersey does not allow plea bargaining in DUI cases. For that reason, the best ways to minimize the consequences of an arrest for drunk driving are twofold: either get the charges dismissed on a technicality, or successfully exclude evidence, such as blood tests, so that you can reduce the charges.

Challenging Blood Tests

One of the most effective and fundamental ways to defend a DUI charge is to bring the reliability of blood tests into question. There are a number of ways to do this. Some of the questions that might be asked to raise legitimate concerns about the reliability of the tests include:

  • Who performed the blood test? Was it a licensed doctor or registered nurse? If not, you may have cause for challenge. Or, if you don’t know who took the test and can’t produce that person to testify at trial, the case may be dismissed
  • Did the person drawing the blood use an iodine swab to clean the skin? Iodine swabs have been show to alter the readings on a blood alcohol test.
  • When was the blood alcohol test machine last serviced? Is there evidence that the machine gave inconsistent readings or false positives in the past?
  • Is there any leftover blood for an independent test? If not (if the state discarded the blood), you may be able to argue that, because you can’t do an independent test, the charges should be dismissed.

Contact the Law Office of Michael Curtis Greenberg

Don’t lose your license or 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 (800) 608-1350.

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

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