School Administrator Avoids DUI Conviction with ARD Program Diversion
A school administrator retained the Lento Law Firm's Criminal Defense Team after her arrest on charges of driving under the influence of alcohol. Police had stopped our client for a traffic infraction on her way home from an after-work meal with colleagues. Our client usually did not drink alcohol but, on this occasion, had a few glasses of wine, more than she had intended. The arresting officer had noticed signs of alcohol influence, after which our client failed a roadside sobriety test and admitted to drinking too much wine. A breathalyzer test further indicated an over-the-limit .09 blood alcohol level. Our Criminal Defense Team assisted our client through arraignment and with bond and license conditions, ensuring that our client was able to continue her school employment uninterrupted. We also counseled our client on the criminal process, with which she had no familiarity, and on the implicating effect of her roadside admissions to the officer, which the officer's body cam and dash cam had recorded. Under these circumstances, our client desired to pursue Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD). The ARD Program enabled our client to plead to the DUI charge in exchange for an order of diversion from further court proceedings. Our client then completed alcohol education and other conditions, after which the court dismissed the charge, leaving our client with a clean record essential to her school administrator position.
Accountant Avoids Second-Offense DUI Conviction on Evidence Suppression
An accountant in a solo tax practice located in a suburban Pennsylvania area retained the Lento Law Firm's Criminal Defense Team after arrest and charge on a second-offense DUI. Pennsylvania punishes second-offense DUIs with up to six months of jail time and a one-year license suspension, among fines, costs, and other onerous conditions. A second-offense DUI also raises the stakes for a third-offense DUI carrying much more severe penalties. To maintain his tax practice and income, our client needed to avoid any significant incarceration and retain his driver's license. Our investigation showed that authorities had tested our client's blood alcohol level using a Type A breath test device. Type A breath test devices have sensitive electronic systems and sensors that can produce false elevated blood alcohol results when not operating properly. The devices are so sensitive that Pennsylvania state law requires annual calibration of Type A breath test devices. Our investigation revealed that the Type A breath test device authorities had used to test our client had not been calibrated for two years. Police had no other credible evidence of our client's intoxication. We, therefore, moved to suppress the breath test results as unreliable and in violation of state statute. The judge granted our motion, prohibiting the prosecution from introducing the results into evidence. The prosecution then abandoned the charge, which the court dismissed. Our client avoided incarceration, retained his driver's license, and avoided the risk of a third DUI with severe penalties.
Graduate Student Successfully Reduces DUI Charge to Gain Diversion
A graduate student in a public health program at a Pennsylvania public university retained the Lento Law Firm's Criminal Defense Team after his arrest for driving under the influence with a high alcohol content. The graduate student had been driving back to his off-campus apartment after a tailgate party at which he drank copious amounts of beer. Police stopped him for a lane violation. Roadside breath testing put our client's blood alcohol not just over the legal limit but at a higher level, warranting the elevated charge. An ordinary first DUI would likely have resulted in probation, a small fine, and no license suspension. But the elevated DUI could have resulted in incarceration and a one-year driver's license suspension when the graduate student required a license to get to the university and for work, family, and other reasons. The officer had allowed our client to call us from the roadside after learning of his high alcohol test results. We advised that our client request an immediate blood test to challenge the reliability of the roadside device. The officer promptly transported our client to the hospital for that blood test. The results showed a slightly lower level, just under the limit for high alcohol content. Our Criminal Defense Team negotiated with the prosecution to reduce the charge on the agreement that our client would plead to the lower charge in exchange for an order of Accelerated Rehabilitative Diversion. The ARD Program enabled our client to retain his license and gain a dismissal of the charge after completing the program's conditions.