Scranton Firefighter Suspected of DUI
Local police officers suspect it was a firefighter who was behind the wheel of a car crash that sent four people to the hospital in early April. Police believe he was under the influence of alcohol when the crash took place. The four people are not believed to be badly injured and, as of the writing of this article, have all been released from the hospital. However, because bodily injury was involved in the crash, the Firefighter may be facing more severe charges for driving under the influence.
The police identified the driver as Kyle Armbruster who initially said that he wasn’t sure what happened. He later amended his story to say that he was swerving to avoid hitting a deer that had jumped out in front of him. He told police that he was coming from a training seminar related to firefighting but officials would not say whether the man was on duty when the crash occurred.
There is a question of liability when a government worker is involved in negligent injuring others while they are on the job. If Armbruster was on duty when the crash occurred, the four injured plaintiffs may be able to target city hall for damages.
Pennsylvania Laws Regarding Bodily Injury and DUI
If it’s your first time being caught driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, then Pennsylvania has a relatively lenient penalty scale. However, the scale increases to include mandatory minimum jail sentences in the event that the defendant has either a prior conviction or their blood alcohol concentration exceeded .10. You will, however, face steep increases to your insurance and a criminal record if convicted. Pennsylvania does not allow the “wet reckless” plea bargain that some other states have.
Under Pennsylvania law, a driver who causes “serious” bodily injury to another person while driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol can be convicted of a second-degree felony. That is a cliff-like escalation in penalty tiers. In this case, you needn’t even be beyond the .08 limit to establish that you were “legally” drunk at the time of the accident. The police will only need to show that you were driving “impaired”.
Then the question becomes: What constitutes a “serious” bodily injury. As with all things under the law, that too has a specific legal definition. It can be found in 18 Pa.C.S. Sec. 2301. A serious bodily injury is any of the following:
- An injury that implies the legitimate risk of death to the injured;
- An injury that causes permanent disfigurement to the injured; and
- An injury that causes the actual loss of a bodily organ for a protracted period of time.
In this case, the individuals involved in the crash seem to be okay. If any of them sustained what is considered to be “serious” bodily injury, then the firefighter may be facing 10 years in prison instead of 6 months probation.
Talk to a Scranton DWI Attorney
If you’ve been caught driving under the influence, a Scranton DWI attorney can help you reduce the long-term consequences of the charge on your record and defend you in court. Give Ernest Preate Jr., Esquire at call at 570-558-5970 or talk to us online. We can help.