Case Results


Nurse Avoids Aggravated Assault Charge after a DUI to Save Her Job & both her Nursing and Driver’s License

Mar 30 2018, by Michael Fienman in Case Results, Criminal Defense, DUI, Legal Blog, Professional Defense

When you’re charged with a crime, the repercussions can often extend further than the courtroom. Dealing with the aftermath of a criminal charge in the Philadelphia area sometimes requires a multifaceted approach from a skilled and experienced attorney.

Recently, a woman, employed as a nurse in a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) was pulled over by Pennsylvania State Troopers with her child asleep in the backseat. During the stop, the woman admitted to having some wine with dinner, but the trooper claimed that she refused a breathalyzer and also claimed to have heard her say that she had also taken a benzodiazepine. As a result, the woman was charged with DUI involving drugs, refusing a DUI blood test, and reckless endangerment of a child. The incident further escalated when the trooper took her into custody and she allegedly began to act violently by kicking the trooper. This added the charge of aggravated assault on a police officer, which compounded her problems and exposed her to very stiff penalties.

The woman knew that she’d not only need to deal with her criminal charges, but also any negative impact to her driver’s license and professional nursing license. Attorney Michael Fienman acted quickly and after reviewing the video footage of the incident, he made it clear to the prosecutor that there was not enough evidence to support the drug charge and due to the troopers own behavior, her actions should not be considered aggravated assault. Ultimately, he achieved a dismissal of the most serious charges and negotiated an agreement to a DUI general impairment charge. This involved a six-month term of probation and a required safety class with the option to eventually have her record sealed, but she was spared from any jail time, license suspension and other criminal consequences.

The next step was to deal with PennDOT and the license suspension imposed for her apparent DUI test refusal. Attorney Fienman appealed this ”chemical test refusal suspension” and PennDOT issued a stay, which delays the imposition of suspension until a final decision on the matter is reached by a common pleas court. This allowed the woman to continue driving while the appeal was pending. By showing the video from the criminal proceeding during the PennDOT appeal, he illustrated that there was not enough evidence to prove his client refused the test. Ultimately, by winning on appeal, her driver’s license was never suspended, even for a single day. Then, attorney Fienman set his sights on protecting her career because despite their success so far, she still faced ramifications form the Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing. While the other processes unfolded, attorney Fienman kept the Board informed and after a few letters and telephone calls to discuss her progress and compliance, attorney Fienman effectively argued against any administrative action on her nursing license.

In similar situations, many people believe that they need to hire separate attorneys to deal with the legal and administrative effects of a criminal charge. However, what they really need is a legal professional that understands how to meticulously approach these issues and what it takes to properly frame a defense in very distinct scenarios. By working with a single attorney with the necessary skill and experience, a very complicated process was addressed carefully, preserving this woman’s life and career.

The outcome of an individual case depends on a variety of factors unique to that case. Case results do not guarantee or predict a similar result in any similar or future case.