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Driving drunk in Leechburg might cost more

| Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2001

LEECHBURG: Drunken drivers who are stopped in the borough could end up paying $30 for a Breathalyzer test administered by police during a traffic stop.

Council voted 6-0 on Monday to advertise the proposed ordinance. It must vote on it again before it becomes law.

'Leechburg would be a trend-setter in Armstrong County,' Solicitor James Favero said. He added he didn't know of any other municipality in the county that had such a policy.

Favero said that any person that pleads guilty or is found guilty of drunken driving would have to pay the fee.

If charges are dismissed or withdrawn, or a person is found not guilty, the person would not have to pay the fee.

Council had been approached by the police department after officers learned that Vandergrift had a similar policy, Favero said.

Council President Anthony Defilippi said it's a way for the borough to recoup its costs.

'This could become a trend with other municipalities because it could become a drain in general funds,' Defilippi said.

Police have to pay for equipment used for the test, such as the mouthpiece and other parts that are changed between uses and for cleaning.

The fee would replace money in the borough's general fund, which is used to pay for the test. Currently, taxpayers pay for each test.

Leechburg Police Chief Alan Tarr was not at Monday's council meeting or at the station to answer questions concerning how many motorists are convicted of drunken driving in the borough each year.

Favero said the county's prothonotary's office has requested that the fee not be assessed as part of the prosecution costs.

A person who registers 0.10 percent on the test is charged with drunken driving, but people who register under that amount could still be charged if they are driving recklessly.

Leslie Suhr can be reached at lsuhr@tribweb.com

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