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Commonwealth v. May

Pennsylvania Superior Court

February 15, 2022

The Pennsylvania Superior Court affirmed the lower court’s decision to preclude evidence from a defense expert and affirmed the mandatory sentence imposed. The defendant was charged and convicted under Section 3802(d)(1)(i), which prohibits driving with “any amount” of a Schedule I controlled substance in the driver’s blood. He wanted to call a defense expert at the trial to opine that the amount of marijuana in his blood would not impair his ability to drive. The Superior Court ruled that the evidence was inadmissible because the defendant was charged with a strict-liability crime, and impairment is not an element. The defendant also made several sophisticated attacks on his $1,000 mandatory fine. He claimed that the lower court erroneously imposed the fine without first assessing his ability to pay, in violation of 42 Pa.C.S. ยง 9726(c), Pa.R.Crim.P. 706(C), and the excessive fines clause of the Pennsylvania and United States Constitutions. But the Superior Court rejected the arguments.

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