BriefLaw: Commonwealth v. Wyland

Published on 11 January 2010 by in Blog

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Commonwealth v. John W. Wyland 2010 PA Super 1 (1/05/2010)

Topic: DUI – Motor Vehicle Stops – Trafficways

Summary: A road on a highly-secured military base is not a trafficway under the Motor Vehicle Code.

http://www.aopc.org/OpPosting/Superior/out/a23021_09.pdf

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The Pittsburgh Tribune Review reports that a new business venture by Tony Ciotti, Mike Conley, and Danielle Danzuso helps people avoid driving under the influence by offering a paid designated driver service.  The business, Pear Transportation Company, is the area’s first and only designated driver service.  When a driver feels that she or he has had too much to drink, they can call Pear Transportation.  The company will send out a driver who use the customer’s own vehicle to drive him home.  The company’s owners hope their service will encourage drivers to act responsibly and avoid DUIs.

For more information about the Pear Transportation Company, go to:

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/columns/heyl/s_654074.html

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Commonwealth v. Thomas A. Perry, Jr.  2009 PA Super 196 (10/06/2009)

Topic: DUIReasonable Suspicion for a Traffic Stop

Summary: When an officer observes a driver operating a vehicle in such a fashion that there is the potential for an accident, there is reasonable suspicion to stop the vehicle.

http://www.aopc.org/OpPosting/Superior/out/s38036_09.pdf

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Commonwealth v. Patrick A. Haag, Sr  J-41-2009 (10/23/2009)

Topic: DUI – Prior Offenses

Summary: For a DUI offense to be a second or subsequent conviction for sentencing purposes, the offender must be convicted of the prior offense before committing the second or subsequent offense.

http://www.aopc.org/OpPosting/Supreme/out/J-41-2009mo.pdf

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From Friday, August 21, 2009 through Monday, September 7, 2009 local police will be joining a national effort to crackdown on drunk driving. Over the period, law enforcement agencies will be conducting DUI checkpoints and roving patrols. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that public service announcements will target female drivers. Studies have shown that incident rates for female drivers committing DUIs have increased in recent years.

For more information, go to:

http://kdka.com/local/DUI.crackdown.Labor.2.1136982.html
http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09232/992110-147.stm

For information on local taxi companies, go to:

http://www.yellowpages.com/Pittsburgh-PA/Taxis

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Commonwealth v. Michelle Necole Griffith 2009 PA Super 120 (7/02/2009)

Topic: DUI 75 Pa.C.S.A. Section 3802(d) – Prescription Drugs – Sufficiency of the Evidence

Summary: For a defendant to be convicted of driving under the influence of a prescription drug, the prosecutor must present expert testimony on the intoxicating effect of the drug.

http://www.pacourts.us/OpPosting/Superior/out/s14030_09.pdf

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Commonwealth v. Gregory Philip Kendall 2009 PA Super 100 (5/29/2009)

Topic: Reasonable Suspicion – Automobile Stop – Officer’s Duty to Aid

Summary: Where an officer approaches a vehicle to render aid, the incident is a mere encounter and reasonable suspicion is not necessary.

Illustration: While driving on a desolate road in the middle of the night, Defendant pulled over. Although the officer was following Defendant for a few minutes, no motor vehicle violations were observed. The police officer asserted that he pulled over to see if everything was ok. The police do not need reasonable suspicion when they are acting on their duty to render aid. Therefore, the Superior Court found that this was not an investigative detention/stop and reasonable suspicion was not needed.

http://www.pacourts.us/OpPosting/Superior/out/S01024_09.pdf

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Commonwealth v. Daniel J. Schmohl 2009 PA Super 97 (5/26/2009)

Topic: DUI – Merger of Offenses

Summary: Driving Under the Influence (DUI) with a high rate of alcohol is a lesser included offense of Aggravated Assault while Driving Under the Influence. Therefore, the offenses merge for sentencing purposes.

http://www.pacourts.us/OpPosting/Superior/out/A06009_09.pdf

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Commonwealth v. Matthew Sibley 2009 PA Super 84 (5/05/2009)

Topic: DUI – Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) – Coefficient of Variation

Summary: Where the coefficient of variation fails to indicate that the defendant may have been operating a vehicle while below the legal limit, the evidence is sufficient to support the conviction.

Illustration: Sibley was charged with DUI with a blood alcohol level above 0.16%. There was a 3% coefficient of variation. Sibley argued that with this variation, his blood alcohol level may have been anywhere between 0.157% to 0.167% and the evidence was therefore insufficient to support his conviction. The Superior Court concluded that, since the evidence showed that Sibley’s BAC was between 0.157% to 0.167%, the evidence was sufficient to support a conviction of DUI with a 0.16% blood alcohol level (The question of what the precise BAC was goes to the weight of the evidence).

http://www.pacourts.us/OpPosting/Superior/out/a10036_09.pdf

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