Law Office of Mark Rosenfeld - July 2019

DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU GET PULLED OVER?

As many people celebrate the Fourth of July next month, law enforcement will be extra vigilant about stopping erratic or reckless drivers. They look for people who are driving under or over the speed limit, improperly crossing lanes, or tailgating, among other things. All of these behaviors are signs that a driver may be under the influence of alcohol.

questions is completely optional, and remember that your answers may be incriminating. It would be best not to answer questions.

Third, you may be asked to exit your vehicle to perform a field sobriety test. This may be a coordination or balance test. Additionally, the officer may request a Breathalyzer test as a preliminary alcohol screening to measure your breath alcohol content. You have the option to deny this pre-arrest test, as well. If you exhibit signs of intoxication, the officer can take you into custody. At this point, the officer should read your Miranda rights and may charge you with driving under the influence. If you are arrested, you will be required to take a blood or breath test at the police station. As always, you should never get behind the wheel if you have been drinking. The best way to avoid a DUI charge is simply leave the car at home and take an Uber to go out. However, regardless of your decision, it’s important to keep in mind that your rights remain intact when you are pulled over and questioned. The right to remain silent only works if you use it. Ask “Am I free to leave?” and then say, “My friend is a lawyer, and he said I can’t answer any questions until I talk to him.” notoriety in 2001, thanks to an email circulated by the now-defunct Stella Awards newsletter, which highlighted “outrageous lawsuits,” people were rightfully enraged. There was just one problem: Terrence Dickson never existed. In 2002, a reporter from Pennsylvania contacted the Bucks County prothonotary’s office, where all records for civil cases in the county are kept. He discovered there was no record of any cases involving such a burglar. It’s worth noting the original email where this story first appeared ended with a call for tort reform from a made-up law firm in Ohio. Likely, this hoax was an attempt to manipulate the public perception of the justice system. Despite being debunked 17 years ago, this tall tale still makes the rounds and often appears on lists of “outrageous lawsuits,” many of which are featured on the websites of legitimate law firms! There are plenty of wacky legal cases, but when a story is too ridiculous, there’s a good chance a few important details are being left out or the readers are being lied to. Don’t believe everything you read online!

If you are pulled over after exhibiting the initial signs of drunk driving, there are a few things you can expect.

First, the police officer will request your driver’s license, vehicle registration, and proof of insurance. (The DUI investigation has already begun.) You must provide these documents. At this point, you are considered detained, but you are not in custody. As a result, the officer is unlikely to read your Miranda rights. Second, the officer will seek out further signs of intoxication, such as slurred speech or the smell of alcohol. The officer will ask you questions related to alcohol, such as how much you have had and when, what type of drink you had, and so on. Answering these

GONE TO THE DOGS

How Can a Thief Sue the Family He Robbed?

Have you heard the story of Terrence Dickson? Even if you don’t know the name, you might have heard his strange tale. Dickson was a burglar in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. One day, after

breaking into a house and helping himself to some valuables, Dickson

decided to leave through the garage. After discovering the automatic garage door was stuck closed, Dickson turned around and was horrified to realize he’d locked himself inside.

To make matters worse, the family he was stealing from had just left for an extended vacation, so Dickson lived off of soda and dried dog food for eight days. When the family returned and found the unlucky burglar, a lawsuit was filed — by Dickson! He sued for mental anguish, and the jury awarded him $500,000.

There’s nothing that shakes our faith in the justice system quite like injustice being served. When Dickson’s story first gained

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