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Resentencing exposes hazards of evading arrest in a DUI stop

The recent re-sentencing hearing for a Pittston resident once more called attention to the hazards of trying to elude police instead of stopping at their request.

The sentencing hearing was conducted by Lackawanna County Judge Vito Geroulo. Judge Geroulo had originally sentenced the defendant to six to fifteen years in prison after he pled guilty to aggravated assault by motor vehicle and related crimes. The incident giving rise to the arrest occurred in 2012. Instead of stopping for the police, the defendant attempted to elude them and drove his car over a 30-foot retaining wall. The car landed on its roof, and both passengers in the car were seriously injured.

The defendant sought a second sentencing hearing by arguing that the judge had used the wrong sentencing guidelines when imposing the first sentence. At the re-sentencing hearing, the outcome was not much different: Judge Geroulo sentenced the defendant to six to 15 years in prison. In handing down the sentence, the judge observed that if the defendant had stopped when the police attempted to pull him over - the reaction of 98 percent of drivers - he would have faced only a DUI charge and the case "would have been history a long time ago."

This case demonstrates the perils of attempting to escape the police. When a driver is signaled by the police to pull over, the better course of action by far is to comply. With the assistance of a knowledgeable and experienced criminal attorney, the consequences may be limited to a small fine or a driver's license suspension and a suspended sentence - instead of the hard jail time facing this defendant.

Source: Scranton Times-Tribune, "Driver resentenced for 2012 crash," David Singleton, Feb. 5, 2015

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