Q: Believe it or not I was convicted of 5 first-time DUIs that occurred in 2012. It was a bad period of my life, mostly due to an insane ex who knew the cops and set me up. Coercion to plead guilty occurred. Is Birchfield applied and in what manner? Can I get a revised sentence or new trial? (Pittsburgh, PA)
A: Forget about it. Birchfield v. North Dakota cut some breaks to many DUI defendants in 2016. The case is only applicable to cases that were pending trial or on direct appeal at the time of the decision in June of 2016. Your offense occurred in 2012 and therefore is not inclusive in the scope of Birchfield.
Q: I have a NY driver’s license from when I was in the Army. I was wondering if I could drive legally in PA with the NY driver’s license. Also, I got my DUI back in 2014. I have now heard that a warrant is required to take blood from DUI perpetrators. They didn’t have a warrant for my blood, so can I fight it? My license in PA is to be suspended for 18 months. I have completed 14 months out of the 18, is there any way I can get my license back earlier? (Carnegie, PA)
A: If a PA driver’s license suspension is in effect, the notice of suspension will be sent from PennDOT to the NY Department of Motor Vehicles. Most states are signatories to an interstate compact act and have reciprocity with driver’s licensing matters. You can probably call the NY State DMV to be certain. As far as the requirement of police to obtain a search warrant to obtain blood from a hospital, Birchfield v. North Dakota was a 2016 case and therefore does not apply retroactively to 2014. As far as getting your license back early, it is doubtful, but you can file for an Occupational Limited License on the PennDOT website. My question is why in 2017 are you still under suspension? You may want to get a Restoration Requirements letter and your driving record from PennDOT. You may also want to call the Clerk of Courts to see if there is any probation condition you have not fulfilled to make yourself eligible to restore.
Q: My blood was drawn with NO WARRANT on July 10th of this year. I got pulled over. They said I failed the FST’s but I know a didn’t and I have witnesses who were in the bar parking lot. They took me immediately to hospital where blood was drawn.
A: You are probably charged with two subsections of the DUI statute. One based on the officer’s observations-how you acted, smelled, spoke, looked, handled FST’s, etc. 3802 (a). The second subsections, 3802 (a) (1) and (b), would be based on the blood test results. Pennsylvania adopted Birchfield v. North Dakota under which the blood test results will be thrown out (suppressed) if there was no warrant used to seize the blood from the hospital by the police. However, if the arresting police department amended their informed consent form prior to your arrest to counter the effects of Birchfield, Birchfield may not apply. Even if you get a break with Birchfield, you still can be prosecuted on subsection (a). I would review your case with a lawyer.