How Do Horses Relate to DUIs in Pennsylvania?

Whiskey with car keys and handcuffs concept for drinking and drivingWhat do a 53-year-old Florida woman and a 19-year-old Amish teen from Pennsylvania have in common? Besides the most interesting first line to a joke, these two seemingly unrelated people got caught up in rare aspects of drunk driving law you may not have been aware of. And when it comes to the serious nature of DUIs in Pennsylvania, it is important to always be informed.

Things You May Not Have Known About DUIs in Pennsylvania

In Lakeland, Florida, a 53-year-old woman was disoriented while riding horseback in the afternoon. After getting her off the animal, they found her blood alcohol level was twice the legal limit. They took her to jail and her horse to the Polk County Sheriff’s Animal Control livestock facility because in Florida a horse is considered a vehicle. The law isn’t very different here in Pennsylvania.

While on patrol in New Wilmington at around 7:30pm, an officer saw a buggy travelling without its required lights activated. When he pulled the buggy over and asked the driver to activate the lights he noticed the 19-year-old struggling to control his horse. He subsequently discovered that the teen had a blood-alcohol content of .0526, which is higher that the .02 limit for people under the age of 21. The Amish teen was charged with a DUI.

In both these cases, driver and rider were arrested for DUI because horses and horse drawn vehicles are still considered vehicles in their respective states. Here Pennsylvania, a horse and rider/buggy are considered vehicles with full rights to the road and all the duties that entails, which means drunk driving laws apply to modes of transport involving horses. Considering how common this type of transport is in our state that’s a good thing to know. If you are under the age of 21, it’s also good to know that the legal limit for your age group is .02 and not .08.

From the attorneys at Fiore & Barber, LLC—helping you understand your rights and the laws of Pennsylvania.

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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