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Marijuana Conviction Enables Man To Beat DUI Rap

A charge of drunken driving filed against a West Scranton man was dismissed Wednesday by a Lackawanna County judge because the man had already been prosecuted for possession of marijuana stemming from the same incident.

The judge ruled that the defendant would be facing double jeopardy if a trial was allowed to start because the two counts were related.

The defendant was arrested after a one-car accident in the 700 block of South Keyser Avenue. His car had left the roadway during the early morning hours, struck a utility pole, rolled down an embankment and came to rest against a concrete support. The defendant was standing on the road, but one of his two passengers was trapped in the car, when police arrived.

Police searched the defendant and found a small amount of marijuana. They also asked him to take a blood-alcohol test to determine if he was over the legal limit. The defendant refused.

The Lackawanna County District Attorney’s office decided to initially prosecute the defendant for the marijuana. He pleaded guilty and was placed on probation. Attorney Patrick M. Rogan filed a motion just before the trial on the DUI charge was to begin arguing that prosecuting the defendant further for what happened would amount to double jeopardy since all charges should have been tried at the same time.

The Tribune, March 7, 1996

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