What Is New in Ridesharing Bills in Pennsylvania?

Uber and Lyft have been subjects of discussion in Pennsylvania, especially with lawmakers and tax specialists. The Philadelphia Parking Authority, or the PPA, has complained for a few years now that the state of ridesharing vehicles is appalling (severe physical damage, gas leaks, etc.) and that a new tax bill is in order. However, there are many conflicting opinions with the PPA that argue the problem is more complex.

Is There a New Tax Bill Regarding Ridesharing in Pennsylvania?

The PPA is arguing in favor of a change in the way taxis and ridesharing vehicles are taxed to raise funds for routine inspections. Specifically, a 50-cent tax is proposed for any car-for-hire in Pennsylvania. Uber and Lyft have disagreed with the new tax plan, and both companies have told the PPA that rideshare vehicles are safer than suggested in the state. Since last year, Uber and Lyft have actually passed 90 percent of all of their inspections, and these results raise further confusion on why the PPA wants to raise taxes.

The PPA continues their argument, stating that with the growing numbers of Uber and Lyft drivers every year, they are struggling to keep up with inspections led by limited staff. The PPA also argues that two thirds of rideshare tax revenue goes to the state’s school district and creating the tax levy would increase money for the district, from $3 million to $11 million a year.

The Pennsylvania Public Utilities Commission, however, disagrees that there is any problem with ridesharing in Pennsylvania. According to the committee’s chairwoman, the number of rideshare violations has been minimal. In conclusion, new legislation does not seem to be the current solution for Pennsylvania ridesharing right now. If you would like to keep up with ridesharing news in Pennsylvania, visit our firm’s website online or call for more information.

What Are My Possible Defenses After a DUI Arrest?

If you are ever charged with a DUI, you should know that the penalties for this type of charge can be pretty serious. If you have experienced a DUI arrest and you feel like you should fight the charge, understand that there are a few possible defenses that you could use in court. With a viable and well thought out defense, you could convince the prosecution to drop or reduce your charges, prevent your driver’s license from being suspended, or even win an acquittal at trial.

What Defenses Can I Use After I’m Arrested for a DUI?

The prosecution during your trial will try to prove that you were driving a vehicle and that you were “under the influence” while driving. Your defenses could either be related to the “driving” aspect or to the arrest procedures.

For a defense related to driving, you could argue that you weren’t necessarily driving. If you were parked and sleeping in your vehicle when law enforcement arrived, you could possibly have a good defense. Most states, however, don’t require proof of actual driving in order to be convicted for a DUI. Usually, the prosecution just needs to prove that you were “operating” or “physically controlling” the vehicle when you were intoxicated.

Another, and arguably easier defense for your DUI charge, is the defense related to how you were arrested. If you believe that the police officer didn’t follow the law when stopping and/or arresting you, you could use certain evidence to defend yourself.

Prove:

  • There was no probable cause for arrest: Police officers need probable cause to actually stop your vehicle, especially on the cause of a DUI suspicion. Traffic violations are usually the reason for the police’s probable cause, but if you believe the officer pulled you over for no legal reason, you could use this as a defense.
  • No Miranda warnings: Law enforcement is generally required to read your Miranda rights before questioning you while you are in police custody. If you made an incriminating statement in response to police questioning, and you were not given your Miranda warnings prior to this, the statement may not be admissible in court.

Our attorneys at Fiore & Barber can assist you if you were charged with a DUI and you want to fight your charge. Contact our firm today for a free consultation.

Pennsylvania Legislature Slams Shut Loophole for DUI Offenses

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On October 27, 2014, Governor Tom Corbett signed legislation that will greatly affect punishment for certain DUI offenses.

Until this new legislation, subsequent DUI offenses were governed by the decision in Commonwealth v. Haig, 981 A.2d 902 (2009). In that case, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court held that the actions of an individual subsequent to the DUI violation were beyond the scope of the prior offense provision during sentencing. In layman’s terms, this meant that an individual can be convicted as a first-time offender on multiple DUI arrests if those offenses were committed after the first violation.

Under the new amended law, the relevant recidivism time-period to the ten-year period before sentencing (not after violation) will be counted towards the prior offense grading and penalty. It also added the language “whether or not judgment of sentence has been imposed for the violation.” Therefore, going forward, a driver with multiple DUI offenses will be sentenced to much harsher penalties. This provision is effective 60 days from Monday, October 27.

To discuss this amendment or how it may affect your case, please contact Fiore & Barber, LLC.

Skippack DUI lawyer

Don’t Let a DUI Ruin Your Halloween Celebration

This year, Halloween is on a Friday which means there may be a likely increase in the number of costumed revelers enjoying adult beverages. When Halloween and a Friday night combine, there can be an increase in DUI arrests. It is important to learn how to avoid getting a DUI so you can enjoy the party and costumes without facing harsh legal consequences or putting yourself and others in danger.

Designate a Driver

The first and foremost tip for Halloween partiers is to either rely on a cab or a designated driver to help you get to the parties and then home safely. However, this isn’t always an option as some people may unexpectedly find themselves behind the wheel after drinking. While this is never ideal, there are ways avoid getting arrested and posing for a mug shot rather than a costumed selfie.

It can be helpful to be aware that it is a Friday night and police will be patrolling after bars close. You can consciously avoid where police will logically be located. Also, be sure your car is in legally working condition. Police can’t just pull you over for no reason or based on a hunch that you may have left a party or bar. However, if your taillight is out or your registration is outdated, they can and will pull you over regardless of how cautious you may be driving.

If you or someone you know does make a mistake and receive a DUI over Halloween, then please reach out to our firm so that we can help you through this period.

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