Law Office of Vanessa M. Nenni, PC
Past President of the Lehigh County Bar Association
Located in Bethlehem, PA
Serving Northampton, Lehigh, Carbon, Monroe and Surrounding Counties
610-861-5100

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Law office of Vanessa M. Nenni, PC

By 7020932485 20 Dec, 2017

DAILY TIMES NEWS

Senate panel OKs tough new DUI standards, targets repeat offenders


By Staff Report

Posted: 12/14/17, 2:56 PM EST | Updated: 5 days ago


SEN. JOHN RAFFERTY

West Chester >> The Senate Transportation Committee, chaired by Sen. John C. Rafferty Jr., R-44, unanimously passed Senate Bill 961 to address egregious Driving Under the Influence (DUI) offenses - including persistent DUI offenders. The bill now goes to the full Senate for consideration.

Senate Bill 961, as amended, provides for the following:

• Increases the minimum term of imprisonment for Homicide by Vehicle while DUI from the current three years to five years if the person has one or two prior DUIs, and from three to seven years if the person has three or more prior DUIs. The bill retains the current consecutive term of incarceration for each victim.

• Expands the Crimes Code to add a presumption of recklessness or negligence when the death of a person is caused by an individual committing a fourth or subsequent DUI offense within a 10-year period, and allows for that individual to be charged with third-degree murder.

• Increases the grading for a third DUI offense with high levels of alcohol or drugs from a misdemeanor of the first degree to a felony of the third degree. Additionally increases the grading for all fourth and subsequent DUI’s to a felony of the third degree.

• Increases sentencing provisions to Homicide by Vehicle, Aggravated Assault by Vehicle, and Aggravated Assault by Vehicle while DUI when the individual committing the offense is not properly licensed or under suspension.

“Countless Pennsylvanians have lost their lives (or lives of loved ones) from the destructive and reckless decisions made by DUI offenders because Pennsylvania’s DUI laws are too lenient,” stated Sen. Rafferty. “The historic action taken by the Senate Transportation Committee sends a strong message that the most dangerous DUI offenders will face a longer prison sentence for repeat DUIs, aggravated assault by vehicle and homicide by vehicle.”

The meeting sparked passion and emotion from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle as well as parents who lost loved ones organized by Pennsylvania Parents Against Impaired Driving.

“Drunk driving is bad enough and it only gets worse and more dangerous when offenders choose to drink and get behind the wheel again and again and again,” said Sen. Andy Dinniman, D-19 of West Goshen, who is a member of the Senate Transportation Committee and a co-sponsor of Senate Bill 961. “Repeat offenders pose an increased risk to public safety and our laws should reflect that. Simply put: the punishment must fit the crime and those who continue to make bad decisions and gamble with innocent lives on our roadways ought to be held accountable to a higher standard.”

Senate Bill 961 was amended in the Senate Transportation Committee to include Senate Bill 635, which was introduced by Sen. Scott Martin, R-13. “Pennsylvania has seen far too many cases in which habitual drunk drivers have inflicted serious consequences upon innocent motorists. Even one tragedy related to drunk driving is one too many,” Sen. Martin said. “A great deal of effort is made to rehabilitate offenders, but for those who continue to thumb their nose at the law and put themselves and others in danger, there must be repercussions.”



By 7020932485 24 Aug, 2017
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation just posted information on Pennsylvania's new Ignition Interlock Limited License:

http://www.dmv.pa.gov/Information-Centers/Suspensions/Pages/Ignition-Interlock-Limited-License.aspx

Check it out!
By 7020932485 24 May, 2017

My office is located in historic Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, the home of Lehigh University, Moravian College and Northampton County Community College. Needless to say, I see numerous students who have been charged with underage drinking and/or public drunkenness over the course of a school year. Pleading guilty or being convicted (after a hearing) will result in a fine of not more than $300, court costs, a driver's license suspension and a conviction on your record.

If you receive a citation for underage drinking or public drunkenness, it is imperative that you contact an attorney who practices regularly before the Magisterial District Judge where the citation was issued. In an effort to educate students on the dangers of excessive alcohol consumption, many local Magisterial District Judges offer a “Summary ARD” diversionary program (the end result of which is the dismissal of the charges and expungement of your record relatively simply).

Consult with a lawyer as soon as possible after you receive the citation. In many cases, it will mean the difference between being able to participate in “Summary ARD” and being denied that opportunity, having to pay a fine and court costs, having a suspension of your driving privileges, and then having to wait until age 21 to have your record expunged.

Every Magisterial District Judge handles the Summary ARD program differently, and it is important that you know what to expect as soon as possible after you are charged and BEFORE the time in which you must request Summary ARD passes.

If you receive a summary offense citation over the weekend, DO NOT think for one moment that because you are an adult and are away from home that you can handle this on your own. DO NOT run to the Magisterial District Court the morning after you receive the citation to plead guilty. Most criminal defense attorneys will talk with you for free via telephone. Pick up the telephone and call an attorney as soon after you receive the citation as is possible. It is far better to be pro-active rather than “fix” the problem after it is too late.

In Bethlehem at the moment, there are a number of “problem” bars and taverns that the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board is trying to shut down. This has resulted in increased police presence on campus and off. If you are stopped by a University Police Officer, a Bethlehem Police Officer or a Pennsylvania State Police Officer and you are asked whether you have been drinking; don't say yes. I am not suggesting that you not lie to the police if you were, in fact, drinking. It is, however, perfectly legal to say (politely and respectfully), "I would rather not answer" or "I would like to invoke my Fifth Amendment right to remain silent." At that point, the officer is supposed to stop questioning you further.

I am often asked whether a request to submit to a breathalyzer test can be refused. It is human nature for most people want to cooperate. “I am being asked by a police officer so, I must have to do whatever he/she asks of me, right?” In Pennsylvania, the operator of a motor vehicle who is suspected of DUI must, as a general rule, submit to a chemical blood test or a certified portable breath test, there is no such requirement of someone suspected of underage drinking or public drunkenness. If you agree to the test and you test positive for alcohol, the officer will then try to manipulate you into a confession. Believe me when I tell you that the police are extensively trained on interrogation techniques and are quite adept at coercing confessions.

Of course, if you have told the officer you are under 21, you are visibly intoxicated, the officer personally observes you consuming a beverage known to be alcohol; none of the above matters, because you could be convicted on that basis alone.

If you or your son or daughter has been charged with underage drinking, public drunkenness, disorderly conduct or any other offense, call me at (610) 861-5100 for a free consultation. Please leave a message including a telephone number where you can be reached and I will return your call as soon as possible. Or, contact me via my website at http://www.nennilaw.com/or via email at vmnenni@nennilaw.net.

Top of Form

By 7020932485 08 Mar, 2017

IGNITION INTERLOCK LIMITED LICENSES (SUMMARY)

 

Effective in 15 months from May 25, 2016 (i.e. August 25, 2017):

 

(1) Occupational limited licenses are no longer available for DUIs.  

Instead, motorists may apply for the new “Ignition Interlock Limited License.”

 

(2) Ignition Interlock Limited License (IILL)  

 

If first offense DUI:

T he motorist is immediately eligible for the IILL.  

(Apply by filing a Petition with PennDOT. PennDOT must approve the Petition within 20 days.)  

-- License cannot be suspended for any other reason.

--Cannot get an IILL for Commercial Vehicles.

--Cannot get IILL for suspensions resulting from Homicide by Vehicle or Homicide by Vehicle while DUI convictions.

--IILL only required on any vehicle driven by motorists (not all vehicles owned by motorist).

--Motorist may drive employers owned vehicle without an ignition interlock if within scope of employment. (Requires employer’s notarized signature on PennDOT form (which will be created) authorizing employee to drive and stating employer is aware of the employee’s restricted license.)

 

If Prior Offense DUI offenses:

--IILL available after 6 months of 12 month suspensions (ungraded misdemeanor DUI cases).

--IILL available after 9 months of 18 month suspensions (misdemeanor 1 DUI cases).

 

Refusals

-- IILL  available after 6 months of a 12 month suspension

-- ILL available after 9 months of an 18 month suspension.

 

 

By 7020932485 22 Feb, 2017

The PA Superior Court has decided the case of Commonwealth v. Goslin, No. 1114 MDA 2015 (February 16, 2017),  holding that the language of the statute prohibiting the possession of knives on school property, though broad, is unambiguous, and that Goslin possessed his pocketknife on school grounds for [an] “other lawful purpose.”

By 7020932485 24 Jan, 2017

Gov. Wolf signs legislation reducing no-fault divorce period from two years to one

 

Dan Sheehan Contact Reporter Of The Morning Call

 

Pennsylvania reduces no-fault divorce waiting period

Gov. Tom Wolf has signed into law a bill that advocates say will lessen the toll divorce takes on children.

Act 102, which takes effect in 60 days, reduces the waiting period for unilateral no-fault divorce from two years to one.

That means a spouse will need to wait only a year before obtaining a divorce without the other spouse's consent. It will also allows couples to more quickly start the process of dividing assets and determining whether alimony is necessary.

Spouses must live apart for the one-year period before one can file an affidavit affirming that the marriage is irreparable.

Pennsylvania introduced no-fault divorce in 1980 when it reformed its 1785 divorce code after years of debate.

It joined three other methods — mutual no-fault, in which both spouses consent to divorce; fault, in which one spouse has to prove wrongdoing by the other; and divorces granted when one spouse has been confined to a mental hospital for 18 months and will remain confined at least another 18 months.

The no-fault waiting period, meant to give couples time to reconcile, was three years but reduced to two in 1988.

By reducing it further, "it looks like we were making it easier for people to get divorces, but what we've learned is that a long mandatory separation period doesn't help people reconcile," said Mary Cushing Doherty, a Doylestown attorney who advocated for the legislation on behalf of the Pennsylvania Bar Association Family Law Section.

Indeed, some would take advantage of the long wait to intimidate their spouses into abandoning their divorce bid, said Cushing Doherty, who has been in family law practice for 35 years.

 

"Sometimes the people who were benefiting were manipulators," she said, "and sometimes they were lawyers dragging out [billable] hours."

Tom Strohl, a longtime marriage counselor in Allentown, agreed that it's pointless to keep people legally bound for two years.

"I've counseled hundreds of couples who were going through the divorce process and stopped at my office as a last-ditch effort," he said. "A high percentage of them I help to find their way back to being in love with one another. But a two-year period isn't necessary. One year is more than ample."

A longer process also increases the chances that the couple's relationship will become more acrimonious.

"If the parents are doing it badly and it's dragged out over that long a time, those parties are not coming to reconciliation and you run a risk of them escalating fights and argument," he said. "If the kids are in front of that at all, that's what will do the damage to them."

When the measure was being debated, opponents contended it would hurt dependent spouses by giving them less time to transition into new lives, which they can do with various forms of state assistance — continuation of health insurance, for example — during the divorce process.

In a statement, however, Republican state Rep. Tarah Toohil of Luzerne County, who sponsored the bill, said quicker resolution is to everyone's benefit.

"The shorter waiting period allows the couple's financial situation to be resolved more quickly and at less expense, so they can tend to their children's well-being," she said.

Doherty said the change was overdue. "The sooner we can help our constituents, the sooner we can help them through the process and the sooner we can relieve the court system and let children get on with their lives," she said.

Strohl called the law a good step, but the smartest approach to divorce is preventing it in the first place.

"The state should get on the front side and mandate marriage education," he said. "It's driver's education for your marriage. We have information, solid, scientific information, about what couples do right and wrong."

By 7020932485 24 Jan, 2017

Pennsylvania's divorce code was reformed in 1980 to add no-fault divorce, which allows one spouse to obtain divorce without the other's consent.

The no-fault waiting period , intended to give couples time to reconcile, was three years. It was reduced to two in 1988. Gov. Wolf this week signed legislation further reducing it to one year.

Under the new law, spouses must live apart for a year before one can file for divorce. They can then start the process of dividing assets and determining alimony.

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Law office of Vanessa M. Nenni, PC

By 7020932485 20 Dec, 2017

DAILY TIMES NEWS

Senate panel OKs tough new DUI standards, targets repeat offenders


By Staff Report

Posted: 12/14/17, 2:56 PM EST | Updated: 5 days ago


SEN. JOHN RAFFERTY

West Chester >> The Senate Transportation Committee, chaired by Sen. John C. Rafferty Jr., R-44, unanimously passed Senate Bill 961 to address egregious Driving Under the Influence (DUI) offenses - including persistent DUI offenders. The bill now goes to the full Senate for consideration.

Senate Bill 961, as amended, provides for the following:

• Increases the minimum term of imprisonment for Homicide by Vehicle while DUI from the current three years to five years if the person has one or two prior DUIs, and from three to seven years if the person has three or more prior DUIs. The bill retains the current consecutive term of incarceration for each victim.

• Expands the Crimes Code to add a presumption of recklessness or negligence when the death of a person is caused by an individual committing a fourth or subsequent DUI offense within a 10-year period, and allows for that individual to be charged with third-degree murder.

• Increases the grading for a third DUI offense with high levels of alcohol or drugs from a misdemeanor of the first degree to a felony of the third degree. Additionally increases the grading for all fourth and subsequent DUI’s to a felony of the third degree.

• Increases sentencing provisions to Homicide by Vehicle, Aggravated Assault by Vehicle, and Aggravated Assault by Vehicle while DUI when the individual committing the offense is not properly licensed or under suspension.

“Countless Pennsylvanians have lost their lives (or lives of loved ones) from the destructive and reckless decisions made by DUI offenders because Pennsylvania’s DUI laws are too lenient,” stated Sen. Rafferty. “The historic action taken by the Senate Transportation Committee sends a strong message that the most dangerous DUI offenders will face a longer prison sentence for repeat DUIs, aggravated assault by vehicle and homicide by vehicle.”

The meeting sparked passion and emotion from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle as well as parents who lost loved ones organized by Pennsylvania Parents Against Impaired Driving.

“Drunk driving is bad enough and it only gets worse and more dangerous when offenders choose to drink and get behind the wheel again and again and again,” said Sen. Andy Dinniman, D-19 of West Goshen, who is a member of the Senate Transportation Committee and a co-sponsor of Senate Bill 961. “Repeat offenders pose an increased risk to public safety and our laws should reflect that. Simply put: the punishment must fit the crime and those who continue to make bad decisions and gamble with innocent lives on our roadways ought to be held accountable to a higher standard.”

Senate Bill 961 was amended in the Senate Transportation Committee to include Senate Bill 635, which was introduced by Sen. Scott Martin, R-13. “Pennsylvania has seen far too many cases in which habitual drunk drivers have inflicted serious consequences upon innocent motorists. Even one tragedy related to drunk driving is one too many,” Sen. Martin said. “A great deal of effort is made to rehabilitate offenders, but for those who continue to thumb their nose at the law and put themselves and others in danger, there must be repercussions.”



By 7020932485 24 Aug, 2017
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation just posted information on Pennsylvania's new Ignition Interlock Limited License:

http://www.dmv.pa.gov/Information-Centers/Suspensions/Pages/Ignition-Interlock-Limited-License.aspx

Check it out!
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