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Greensburg Legal Blog

Estate planning mistakes may lead to disputes

Creating an estate plan allows an individual in Pennsylvania to set out expectations for their personal, professional and financial future. Unfortunately taking on the task of creating and maintaining an estate plan intimidates some people, even to the point where they never do it at all.

It’s important that all prudent planners sit down with financial and legal professionals to strategize and plan for their futures. It isn’t the daunting task many perceive it to be, so consider the benefits of comprehensive and inclusive estate planning. With no plan in place or an improperly prepared plan, the probate process may end up in a litigious, tense battle between loved ones in a time of grief.

Did a stop at a DUI checkpoint result in a drunk driving charge?

Law enforcement departments all over the state of Pennsylvania conduct DUI checkpoints randomly throughout the year. They are required by law to tell residents when these checkpoints will be taking place, but they are not required to say the exact locations where they will set up shop. If you stand accused of drunk driving after being stopped at one of these checkpoints, legal counsel may be able to help you fight it.

If people knew where DUI checkpoints were going to be, they would likely find other routes to their destinations. Unfortunately, law enforcement can set them up wherever they want as long as they have given official notification to the public. Once in line at a DUI checkpoint, it can be hard to get out of it.

Police say drunk driving led to unborn baby's death last year

Pennsylvania State Police troopers end up investigating all kinds of accidents. One of the first considerations of many law enforcement officers, including troopers, is whether one of the drivers involved was impaired at the time. Confirming that suspicion requires a significant amount of time, so charges may not come for weeks or months after the incident occurs, but that does not mean that someone suspected of drunk driving involving an accident should wait for an arrest warrant to begin planning a defense.

For instance, a man involved in an accident on July 17, 2017, was just recently charged with aggravated assault by vehicle while driving under the influence, homicide by vehicle while driving under the influence and recklessly endangering another person, among other charges. In that crash, a pregnant woman suffered serious injuries and underwent an emergency cesarean section to deliver her baby. Sadly, her unborn child ultimately passed away, allegedly due to the accident.

Excessively high BAC levels lead to serious drunk driving charges

A man driving through Lower Saucon Township is facing serious criminal charges after a recent DUI arrest. According to Pennsylvania law enforcement, the driver had an excessively high blood alcohol content of .25 percent at the time of his arrest. This is more than three times the legal limit, and he was stopped by law enforcement for suspected drunk driving after allegedly running a red light.

The police report on the arrest states that the man was not able to successfully complete field sobriety tests administered at the scene of the traffic stop. After that, he was taken into police custody, but it is not clear at what point the BAC test was administered. The man pleaded guilty to both DUI -- Highest Rate of Alcohol, which is a DUI for a BAC of .16 percent or higher, as well as DUI while driving with a suspended Pennsylvania license.

Criminal defense can challenge strong evidence

When Pennsylvania residents face criminal charges, their freedom and future may be on the line. Evidence can accumulate quickly, and it may seem as if there is no chance of refuting the charges. Having the skills of a criminal defense attorney can be critical to protecting one's rights during all phases of the investigation and prosecution.

One man is facing numerous charges following a low-speed police pursuit. Officers claim they attempted to stop the man for a traffic violation, but the driver did not stop. Instead, police followed him onto a state highway where they allege that he began throwing items from the vehicle. When the chase concluded with the arrest of the driver, police reportedly recovered 150 bags of heroin, which they claim the man had thrown out the window of his car.

Pennsylvania man charged with drunk driving

A 28-year-old man is facing serious charges after he allegedly crashed his car into a home in Manchester Township, according to local sources. The man has been accused of drunk driving and evading police. If he is found guilty, he could face serious jail time. He posted $2,500 bail and is due back in a Pennsylvania criminal court for a preliminary hearing on July 18.

According to the accident report, the crash took place around 11 a.m. the morning of July 4. The man was reportedly driving his vehicle over 80 mph in a 55 mph zone when he drove through a red light, causing officers to give chase. He lost control of his vehicle, which left the road and crashed into a brick home. The estimated damage to the house is around $20,000.

Due process remains problematic in campus sex crime cases

When a person faces a criminal charge or pursues legal action, the rule of law dictates that due process be followed. The way the Constitution of the United States expresses this is that every person is presumed innocent until found guilty. Additionally, the Constitution states that in any prosecution, the defendant has a right to confront his or her accuser through cross-examination.

That's not a "nice-to-have" sentiment. It is a "must have." Unfortunately, application can be spotty at times. Cases of alleged sexual assault on college campuses may serve to highlight the point.

Football player charged with drunk driving

A freshman from a neighboring state has been charged with driving under the influence while visiting Neshannock Township, according to local sources. Pennsylvania authorities arrested the 18-year-old man under suspicion of drunk driving. If he is found guilty, the young football player could see his position on his team, as well as his enrollment in his university, both placed at risk.

According to the incident report, on June 16, the 18-year-old was driving in Lawrence County when he was pulled over. Police did not explicitly say why he was pulled over in their report. However, among the charges filed against him, he is accused of careless driving and disregarding traffic lanes, both of which could have prompted officers to pull him over.

Trial proceeds against police officer accused of drunk driving

A police officer in Erie who was suspended after a suspected DUI incident is facing the end of her trial, according to local sources. Pennsylvania State Police responded the the crash, which killed a 57-year-old man in February, and they believe the the 47-year-old officer was at fault. She stands accused of drunk driving, and closing arguments in her case were set to begin the morning of June 18. 

According to court files, a surveillance tape from the bar the woman was patronizing the night of the crash was entered into evidence. It allegedly shows the officer, who was off-duty at the time, consuming some 13 drinks of an unknown nature over the span of five hours prior to the crash. The officer, who has since taken the stand, testified that her ex-boyfriend, who was with her at the time, would not have let her drive home if she was drunk.

Bus driver in Pennsylvania faces drunk driving charges

A bus driver in Smithfield Township is in custody after her arrest for allegedly picking up school children while intoxicated. Pennsylvania State Police apprehended the woman after witnesses called authorities when she was seen behaving erratically. She was arrested and processed, but has since been released on bail. She faces one count of drunk driving, as well as dozens of other charges pertaining to reckless endangerment. 

According to the report, the driver was witnessed staggering upon exiting the bus at a local elementary school, where she was supposed to be picking up students at the end of their school day. The resource officer at the school said the bus had been moving erratically before arriving at the school, and took the driver to the nurse's office upon her arrival. A field sobriety test was conducted, which the driver allegedly failed. 

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