Pennsylvania v. Starry (majority)Annotate this Case
Appellant Michelle Starry was charged, inter alia, with a Pennsylvania Vehicle Code Section 3802(c) offense. She claimed the Commonwealth failed, prior to trial, to establish a prima facie case that her blood alcohol level was 0.16 percent or greater within two hours after driving. Appellant’s arrest occurred after she was involved in a single-car accident. The common pleas court conducted a hearing on the motion, and allowed the Commonwealth to supplement the preliminary hearing evidence. Applying Section 3802(g)(1), the court opined that the prosecution offered no good reason for failing to attempt to secure a more prompt blood test, other than stating that law enforcement policy in cases of serious accidents was to obtain a search warrant for the results of medical blood tests. "And the court suggested that there should have been some elevated concern about the two-hour window, given that the time of the accident was unknown." On the Commonwealth’s interlocutory appeal, the Superior Court reversed. The Supreme Court concurred with the Superior Court, finding the Commonwealth established probable cause that Appellant committed the Section 3802(c) offense and that a jury would be within its province to determine that her blood alcohol content was at least 0.16 percent within two hours after driving.