During this 2011 holiday season, Pennsylvania state police are out in full force.  The standard increase in sheer number of officers alone is a given as well as their low tolerance level for criminal traffic offenses.  We assume they are looking for speeders and drunk drivers, and they are; however, this year, Pennsylvania state police are also seriously cracking down on distracted drivers.

If you live in West Chester, there is a good chance you have discovered the increased enforcement detail on Thanksgiving weekend. Police’s main goal is to promote traffic safety by ticketing distracted driving habits such as cell phone use while driving, texting and failure to obey the “move over” law when passing a stopped emergency vehicle.  Police are also on the look-out for DWI, conducting DWI (driving while intoxicated) sobriety enforcement details more regularly during the holiday season, resulting in more DWIs and other West Chester traffic offenses in Chester County, Pennsylvania.

No doubt, once you are stopped for a violation, it’s much easier for a police officer to further investigate and charge a man, woman or minor with multiple, sometimes unrelated crimes.  Even what seems like a normal speeding traffic stop can turn into multiple tickets and even an arrest.  Just last week a West Chester man was pulled over when police smelled an odor of burnt marijuana in the car and after police searched the vehicle, the man was charged with drug paraphernalia, suspected marijuana and a weapons violation.  All of the charges were further heightened in severity as the man was also driving with a suspended license.

When a regular traffic stop turns into a more serious situation, such as being pulled over for speeding and arrested for a West Chester DUI, it’s important to understand your rights, options and the consequences of your choices, whether you enter a plea or go to trial. If you choose not to fight the charges against you, punishments vary depending on the offense(s) you are charged with.  For example, driving with a suspended or revoked license due to DUI in Pennsylvania charge can have associated fines up to $500 and imprisonment for 60 to 90 days, and multiple misdemeanor offenses may turn your case into a felony.

The holidays are supposed to be a time with family and friends, not locked away in a jail cell.  Please, if you have been arrested or charged with one or multiple criminal traffic offenses in West Chester, obtain a Pennsylvania criminal defense attorney to help you understand your options and go over the details of your case so you can.  It is the only way to begin building a defense that helps protect your driving privileges and other rights.  From Skinner Law Firm, drive safe and Happy Holidays!

Article Author

Michael J. Skinner, the founder of Skinner Law Firm LLC, is a former prosecutor with the Chester County District Attorney’s Office.

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