Missing Dash Camera Video in DUI Case: Officer's Testimony Kept Out of Court

What happens when a police officer should have video and audio from his dash camera available for trial, but the evidence is not preserved? This is not a question of an equipment failure, but a situation where an officer simply does not follow department policy and does not preserve a video. I litigated and won this case in York County recently in the context of a DUI case where the defendant was stopped for minor equipment violations after he turned to avoid a DUI checkpoint. Here is the decision.

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NHTSA Study: Marijuana not linked to car crashes

Jacob Sullum does tremendous work over at Reason.  Recently, he wrote about a study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration ("NHTSA") that analyzed the impact of marijuana on drivers and whether it tended to increase the likelihood that a driver would crash. The bottom line is that after accounting for demographic factors (age and gender, mostly), the NHTSA study could not isolate a scientifically valid relationship between using marijuana and an increased probability of getting into an accident.

That is really big news.

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Naloxone Available Without Prescription

Pennlive.com reports that CVS is making Naloxone available without a prescription in Pennsylvania. Naloxone is a drug that can reverse the effects of a painkiller or heroin overdose. For about $50.00 or less, families who are struggling with someone with an addiction can keep this in their house in case of an emergency. It comes in a form that is a nasal spray and one that is injectable.

If your family could benefit from this, you can, for the cost of a decent first aid kit, potentially have a tool on hand that could save the life of a loved one.

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Possession of Drugs - Possible impacts on your driver's license, your student aid, or professional license

Many of the clients I represent on DUI cases are also charged with possessing some form of drug, usually marijuana or pills that they got from someone else (Adderall, Xanax, etc.).  In addition to consequences from the DUI charge, they face problems related to possessing a drug that is either an "illegal" (Schedule I) drug or a drug that they do not have a valid prescription for.

While the penalties for possessing a drug are generally minimal (probation, usually), there are other major impacts that a guilty plea can have for those charges: license suspension, loss of financial aid, impacts on professional licenses (like nursing licenses), and more.

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Field Sobriety Tests - PA Superior Court gives police more leeway

In the case of Commonwealth v. Salter, the Pennsylvania Superior Court issued a non-precedential decision that discussed how police may use field sobriety tests. A copy of their decision is here.

This is a case that originated in York County, and it overruled a thoughtful and excellent decision by Judge Richard K. Renn of the York County Court of Common Pleas.  A "non-precedential" decision may not be cited in other cases, though it is instructive in helping to inform lawyers how the appellate courts are thinking about and viewing legal issues. 

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Where can I monitor my court case on-line?

My clients are often interested in knowing where they can monitor court dates for their case. This comes from two sets of concerns:

  1. What can other people find out about their case?
  2. How can they confirm when their next court date without having to call into the courthouse or my office?

The Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts runs two websites that allow the public (or you, or your nosy neighbors) to monitor court cases. The first website is for the Magisterial District Court system (the local courts throughout York County). The second covers court activity at the Court of Common Pleas (the county courthouse in downtown York). I'll discuss both below the jump.

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Updated YorkDUI.com website: why change things now?

jng-bw.jpgI've run a website at YorkDUI.com for many years now. I'm on my third iteration of the site, having moved through three separate content management systems. I finally made the move this time (September 2015) after months of looking for a good option to replace the old Word Press site that had outlived its useful life about two years ago. The reasons why I changed the website this month are important and they speak to the nature of the law practice I run, the one I want to run, and the service I want to provide to all of you.

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