Q: I got in an accident because of deer ran out in front of me. I hit a telephone pole and was charged with a DUI, DUI refusal, also reckless driving and careless driving. No DUI refusal form was filled out and the police released me one hour after I was put in the holding cell. They told me I had to walk home if I had no ride. (Jefferson Hills, PA)
A: If you didn’t sign a refusal form, the officer can still testify that you refused blood alcohol or breath testing. The fact that you were released to walk home has no consequence. The police likely had the information they needed to file charges and thought you were sober enough to walk home after a certain point. You will be sent a summons. The other alternative would have been for the police to take you to the county jail to be arraigned in night court and released the next day. The summons process is better.
Q: My son (19) took the state cops on high speed chase reaching speed limits of 130 miles per hour (my Lexis). No one was injured, thank God. He did go through some field sobriety tests but apparently, they didn’t think he was high. He surrendered in the end with no incidents. There was a passenger in the vehicle but she was passed out. He did this in Allegheny County just short of the Westmoreland County line. (North Huntington, PA)
A: 75 Pa.C.S.A. Section 3733 defines the offense of fleeing or attending to elude a police officer. It is graded as a misdemeanor of the second degree. However, if the driver was DUI, left the state jurisdiction, or endangered the police or public via a high-speed chase, the crime is graded as a felony of the third degree. The maximum penalty for a M2 is 2 years in jail. The maximum penalty for a F3 is 7 years in jail. I assume he will be charged with a misdemeanor 2, fleeing and eluding. He will probably be charged with a smorgasbord of other motor vehicle offenses like speeding, reckless driving. He may also be charged with a misdemeanor level of Reckless Endangering of Another Person (REAP). Your son needs a lawyer. If your son has no criminal record, it will be considered a win to get out of this with summary motor vehicle charges. He will no doubt lose his license for at least one year. In addition, I would take his X-Box away, make him use a bicycle for transportation and get a job.
Q: I was given a refusal to breathalyze by the cop, reckless driving and a DUI how long am I likely to lose my license.
A: If you are ARD (Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition) eligible, you will receive a 60 day license suspension on the DUI. If you do not receive ARD, you will receive an 18 month suspension on the DUI. PennDOT will suspend it another year for the refusal. If you plead guilty to the Reckless Driving, you will receive a 6 month suspension from PennDOT. I advise hiring an attorney to mitigate your damages.