CHALLENGE YOUR PENNSYLVANIA DUI
The Pennsylvania Drunk Driving Laws underwent significant changes several years ago. However an experienced criminal attorney will carefully analyze your specific situation and may recommend several ways to challenge the charge.
1. CHALLENGE THE REASON FOR THE INITIAL STOP BY THE POLICE
In Pennsylvania a Police officer must have a reasonable suspicion to believe that a traffic offense or other criminal activity has occurred before making a traffic stop. In other words a driver must be speeding, failed to stop for a traffic-controlled device or otherwise driving recklessly, etc. for a police officer to have reasonable suspicion to stop your car. Challenging the stop could result in the charges being dismissed.
2. IN PENNSYLVANIA THE PROSECUTING AUTHORITY MUST ESTABLISH THAT YOU WERE IN ACTUAL PHYSICAL CONTROL OF THE VEHICLE
If your vehicle was stopped prior to the police arrival you may be able to challenge this element of the charges. The prosecutor must prove that you were in actual physical control of your vehicle. This does not necessarily mean that the vehicle was moving.
3. CHALLENGE THE FIELD SOBRIETY TEST
Typically the Police officer uses several tests after the stop to determine sobriety. These are the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus, “walk and turn” and “one leg stand”. The National Highway Safety Traffic Administration has concluded that at a blood alcohol content of .10 the accuracy of the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test is 77%, the walk and turn test is 8% and the one leg stand is 65%. These differences leave considerable room to challenge the field sobriety test.
4. THE POLICE OFFICER’S OBSERVATIONS
Part of the criminal charges will often be based on what the police officer observed about the individual at the time of arrest. These may include an odor of alcohol or that the individual was not steady when standing or walking. These are the police officer’s personal observations that he will rely on when formulating the criminal charges against the individual. The officer’s observations are an area that can be full of inaccuracy. Many local police departments have video tape recorders in their patrol cars, which may provide evidence of the events. Additionally, there may be independent witnesses to testify as to the observations made at the scene.
5. BREATH OR BLOOD TEST RESULTS
Machines that are used to test the blood alcohol content by means of an individual’s breath are not perfect and are subject to providing unreliable results. All of these machines must be calibrated frequently. The lack of calibration or other interference with the machine may contribute to an unreliable test and give rise to challenging the arrest.
In Pennsylvania, all licensed drivers impliedly consent to the testing of their blood breath or urine. The failure to consent to the test may result in an automatic license suspension. The police must advise you of your rights and the consequences of the refusal. Additionally, after an arrest the police officer must inform the individual of their “Miranda Rights”. The failure to properly provide these warnings at the appropriate time may provide an additional challenge to the criminal charges.
To schedule a free consultation for a DUI arrest in Montgomery or neighboring county, please call the Law Office of Robert A. Saraceni, Jr. at 610-292-8600.