Defense Strategies in Pennsylvania DUI Cases
Like with any other type of crime, it is the responsibility of the prosecution in a drunk driving case to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the defendant is guilty. Contrary to common belief, not all charges of driving under the influence (DUI) are slam-dunks for the prosecution. There some strategies and options available if you’ve been arrested and charged with DUI in Pennsylvania.
The following are some common defense strategies in these cases:
- Inaccurate tests. Breath tests are used to read the amount of alcohol on your breath, which can give an estimate of your blood alcohol concentration (BAC). However, these tests can be inaccurate if the alcohol has not been absorbed into your bloodstream. Roadside tests could therefore be invalid if the defendant did not have an appropriate amount of time for any consumed substances to be absorbed.
- Untrained test operators. All Pennsylvania law enforcement officers who conduct roadside tests must be certified in administering them. Without the proper training, test results could be invalidated according to state law.
- Challenging the reason for a stop. This strategy can be difficult if you do not have any witnesses available, but you may attempt to challenge the reason why the officer pulled you over in the first place. If an officer had no legitimate reason to stop you, then any evidence collected during the stop would be inadmissible.
- Misleading test results. Field sobriety tests are specifically designed for drivers to fail. Officers look for even the smallest stumble in these tests. However, drivers who have health problems, psychological difficulties or injuries could have a very difficult time passing these tests, even when sober.
- Procedural issues. Any time a police officer illegally acquires evidence, such as through an illegal search and seizure, your attorney may attempt to have that evidence barred from use in court.
There are some serious consequences for DUI convictions in Pennsylvania, especially if it’s not your first offense. A second-offense DUI, for example, comes with five days to six months in jail, up to $2,500 in fines and a license suspension of 12 months. Subsequent convictions are associated with even greater penalties, including up to two years incarceration and between $500 and $5,000 in fines, along with the mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device once your driving privileges are reinstated.
If you have been charged with drunk driving, you do have options available to you. Contact a skilled Philadelphia DUI defense attorney at the Law Offices of David Jay Glassman today by calling 215-563-7100 or by contacting us online.