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Posted On: June 2, 2008 by Marc Neff

The case involved a DUI charge from Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. The defendant was stopped by an off-duty paramedic; who was still in uniform, driving a minivan. The paramedic called 911 when he noticed a vehicle being operated suspiciously. He asked the defendant to turn into a nearby gas station. The paramedic notified the defendant that he intended to call 911, and asked that the defendant turn-off his vehicle and relinquish the keys. The police arrived shortly after, concluded that the defendant was intoxicated, and arrested defendant for DUI and possession of marijuana.

The Court refused to grant 4th Amendment protection and suppress evidence. The Court determined that simply wearing a uniform was not enough to constitute state action, since boy scouts, among others, also wear uniforms and badges. The court, citing Commonwealth v. Mendenhall, reiterated that Fourth Amendment protection occurs only when, considering all of the facts a reasonable person would think he or she is being restrained.

A person acting in a private capacity does not have the authority to perform traffic stops or make arrests for summary offenses. Nevertheless, evidence obtained through such a stop may still be used against you in a Court of law. If you have been arrested and charged with a DUI or similar offense, there are many defenses which may be available to you. Pennsylvania DUI and drug possession penalties are severe, so do not hesitate to contact the Law Offices of Marc Neff immediately if you have been charged with such a crime.

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Posted in: Misdemeanor / Felony Crimes