General Frequently Asked Questions

Individuals accused or charged with a PA criminal offense or DUI usually have a lot of questions regarding Pennsylvania criminal law, the Pennsylvania judicial process, and the various types of crimes. Below are just a few of the most common questions that we have been asked:

Q: What Is “Per se?

A: “Per se” is a Latin phrase that means “by itself.” In Pennsylvania, evidence that a person drove, operated or was in control of a motor vehicle with a BAC of .08% or higher is enough by itself to convict the person of DUI. A person with BAC less than .08% might still be convicted of DUI is there is evidence that he or she imbibed enough alcohol to make him or her incapable of safely driving, operating or being in control of a motor vehicle.


Q:Can I Be Convicted Of A DUI Based On Prescription Medicine?

A: Yes, absolutely! Prosecutions for DUI’s based on prescription drugs as well as illegal drugs are increasing monthly.

Across the state, the State Police departments are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars a year to train troopers to specifically look for impairment from prescription medicine.

Attorney Manchester has dedicated much time to learn these new detection techniques, so he can point out the scientific faults behind the testing in the field as well as in the lab .


Q: What Makes Manchester & Associates Different From Other Law Offices?

A: Attorney Brian Manchester not only knows the law and latest legal decisions, but also has a tremendous amount of personal time studying the sciences behind the Field Sobriety Testing.

Attorney Manchester travels across the country going to seminars, workshops, training courses on the topics of chemical testing, field sobriety testing, and trial techniques. Brian Manchester is now a Standardized Field Sobriety Testing Instructor and a two time graduate of the American Chemical Society Forensic Gas Chromotagraphy Course. He is one of less than a dozen lawyers in the country that have graduated from this course more than one time. Most attorney’s only know the laws behind these cases, where as, Attorney Manchester has taken the time to be educated beyond the laws .


Q: Why Do I Need To Hire An Attorney?

A: An attorney knows the law and will guide you through the process, ensuring you that your rights are not being violated.


Q: Are The Blood And Breath Test Accurate?

A: A Breathalyzer Test is highly unreliable and has a very large margin of error, even when conducted properly. No blood test is 100% accurate either. Blood test performed at a hospital are highly unreliable, because they are designed as a quick test to tell a doctor approximately how much alcohol is in your system, and then in turn can be quickly assessed of the level of alcohol in your body.

Even gas chromatographic testing to which the government experts refer to as the “Gold Standard” has multiple isues that can be defended against. Gas chromatography is a good testing methodology when used by people who know what they are doing, everything is working correctly, and all variables are being run according to the validation study. rarely in a forensic lab do all of these things happen at the same time.

In order to properly handle the DUI case, you need an attorney that understands the science behind the DUI laws and can challenge the validity of the test results and how the tests were administered in order to have the results dismissed from the court case .


Q: If I Have A Schedule I, II, Or III Drug In My Blood Am I Automatically Guilty Of A DUI Even If I Am Not Impaired?

A: Absolutely not! Before a drug test result can be admitted into evidence the drug in question must have had a minimum detection level set by the Department of Health. One example of a drug that is considered illegal are what they call bath salts. Even if bath salts are in your blood, the test results are not admissible because as of now the Department of Health has not set a minimum detection level as 75 Pa.C.S.A. 1547(c)(4) requires. This statute also presents many more defenses to the admissibility of drug test results and makes per se drug DUI charges even more defensible than alcohol based charges.

This is but one example of where knowing the law and the science come into play in defending drug based DUI cases.


Q: If I’m Convicted, What Can Happen?

A: It depends on the number of prior offenses you have charged against you as to the exact amount of time you will serve upon conviction of a crime. The average time served is 6 months probation to one to five years in state prison. In DUI cases you could additionally lose you driver’s license for up to 18 months, be ordered to pay fines up to $10,000, be required to have an Ignition Interlock system for one year, possible loss of your job and/or home, and you become high risk to your insurance company, which could cause your insurance rates to double and/or triple for the next five years.


Q: What Can Happen To My Commercial Drivers' License(CDL)?

A: If you are convicted or receive an Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) for a DUI offense even if you are in your personal car you will lose your CDL for one year. If this is your second conviction or ARD since 2004 you will lose your CDL for life. That is why an aggressivee defense is required.


Q: What Are Your Fees?

A: Our office charges a flat fee. Fees are assessed by the type of offense we are handling for you and whether or not your case will be going to trial. All fees are based on a flat charge, but are determined by the length of time the case will take to investigate .