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While most people are aware that they can be charged with DUI crimes for driving with a blood-alcohol level of .08% or higher, many are unaware that in Pennsylvania, DUIs are categorized by alcohol levels. As such, people who have higher blood alcohol levels at the time of their arrests face more significant penalties. In a recent Pennsylvania ruling, a court discussed what evidence is needed to establish a defendant’s guilt for DUI at the highest rate of alcohol, in a case in which the defendant argued the Commonwealth lacked sufficient evidence to convict him. If you are accused of a DUI offense, you should confer with a Pennsylvania DUI defense attorney to assess your options for seeking a fair outcome.

The Defendant’s Arrest

It is reported that police officers were positioned in the parking lot of a convenience store around the time bars let out. They noticed a car that was parked outside of the dedicated lines, and when they approached the vehicle, they observed the defendant slumped over in the driver’s seat. One of the officers shook the defendant to wake him and noted the defendant smelled of alcohol and had slurred speech.

Allegedly, when the officers questioned the defendant, it took him several attempts to state his address. He admitted consuming alcohol, and his keys were in the ignition of his vehicle. Based on the foregoing, the officers asked him to submit to field sobriety testing, which he failed. He was arrested, and a blood test revealed his blood-alcohol level to be .211%. He was charged with DUI – highest rate of alcohol and convicted following a bench trial. He then appealed. Continue reading

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In most DUI cases, the Commonwealth will rely on the results of a blood or breath test to support the argument that the defendant was operating a vehicle while intoxicated. Under Pennsylvania implied consent law, drivers are deemed to agree to submit to breath tests and can face penalties for refusing to do so. Blood draws taken absent valid consent may constitute unreasonable search and seizures, though, and the results of such tests may be deemed inadmissible. In a recent Pennsylvania opinion issued in a case in which the defendant’s motion to suppress the results of a blood test were denied, a court discussed what constitutes valid and knowing consent to submit to a blood test. If you are charged with a DUI crime based on the results of a blood test, it is prudent to meet with a Pennsylvania DUI defense attorney to evaluate your potential defenses.

The Defendant’s Blood Test

It is reported that the defendant was involved in an accident while driving his motorcycle. The officer investigating the accident found that the defendant’s breath smelled of alcohol, and his demeanor indicated that it was likely that he had consumed a sufficient amount of alcohol to be rendered unable to drive safely. The defendant was transported to the hospital and was given fentanyl on the way there.

Allegedly, once the defendant was at the hospital, his blood was drawn, and testing revealed his BAC to be .096%. He was charged with numerous DUI charges and, prior to trial, filed a motion to suppress the results of the blood test, arguing that he did not provide knowing consent to the test. He was convicted on each count, after which he appealed. Continue reading

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People often think of DUI charges as arising out of direct evidence that a person operated a vehicle while intoxicated, but in many instances, the prosecution’s evidence is solely circumstantial. While circumstantial evidence is sufficient to convict a person for a crime, a conviction that rests solely on information from the defendant, like an admission, is improper pursuant to the corpus delicti rule. In a recent opinion, a Pennsylvania court explained the corpus delicti rule and its implication in DUI cases. If you are accused of operating a vehicle while intoxicated, it is advisable to speak with an experienced Pennsylvania DUI defense attorney as soon as possible to evaluate your options.

The Defendant’s Arrest

Allegedly, the police responded to reports of a two-car accident. When they arrived at the scene, all of the parties involved had exited their vehicles. The police spoke with the defendant’s friend, who smelled of alcohol and was unsteady on his feet. Per the arresting officer, the defendant’s friend was extremely intoxicated and would not have been able to operate a vehicle in his condition.

It is reported that the officer spoke with the defendant as well, who stated that he was driving at the time of the accident due to his friend’s intoxication. The defendant also smelled like alcohol, had bloodshot eyes, and was slurring his speech. The officer asked him to submit to field sobriety and breath tests, and he declined. He was charged with and convicted of DUI, after which he appealed. Continue reading

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Pursuant to the landmark Supreme Court decision in Birchfield v. North Dakota, the results of blood alcohol tests obtained without a warrant are inadmissible in many cases. Specifically, even if an officer obtained a defendant’s consent prior to the test, the consent will be deemed invalid if it was provided following a warning of increased criminal penalties for refusing to submit. In the wake of Birchfield, courts throughout the country continue to determine when and how the ruling should apply. This was demonstrated in a recent ruling in a Pennsylvania DUI case that was pending when the Birchfield decision was issued. If you are charged with a DUI offense, it is prudent to speak to a trusted Pennsylvania DUI defense attorney to determine your rights.

The History of the Case

It is reported that the defendant struck two pedestrians while driving her vehicle. Police investigating the accident asked her to submit to field sobriety testing. She agreed and performed poorly. She then submitted to a breath test and was arrested for multiple DUI offenses and transported to the police station. When she arrived there, she was read the implied consent warnings and submitted to a blood test.

Allegedly, before the defendant’s hearing, she filed a motion to suppress the results of her blood test based on the Birchfield ruling. The trial court granted the motion, after which the Commonwealth appealed. The issue went through multiple additional rounds of appeals and was ultimately remanded to the Superior Court of Pennsylvania.

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While many DUI charges in Pennsylvania arise out of a breath or blood test indicating a BAC over the legal limit, such test results are not required. Instead, a person can be charged with a DUI offense if an officer believes that there is sufficient evidence of impairment due to the consumption of alcohol. Recently, the Pennsylvania Superior Court issued a ruling in which it discussed the evidence sufficient to convict a person of DUI general impairment, in a case in which the defendant appealed her conviction. If you are a Pennsylvania resident charged with a DUI crime, it is wise to meet with a capable Pennsylvania DUI defense attorney to assess your potential defenses.

The Defendant’s Arrest

It is reported that a police officer was dispatched to a highway due to a report of two drivers with flat tires. When he arrived, he spoke with the defendant, one of the drivers, and noticed that her eyes were red and bloodshot, and she smelled of alcohol. The tires on the right side of her vehicle were blown out, and there were large gashes on the sidewall. The officer noticed the defendant was unsteady and asked her if she had consumed alcohol. She denied drinking at first but ultimately admitted to consuming four shots of vodka.

Allegedly, the defendant was asked to submit to a breath test and refused. She performed several physical and mental acuity tests but failed to do what she was instructed. She was arrested and transported to the police station, where she refused to submit to a blood test. She was charged with numerous offenses, including DUI general impairment. She was convicted, after which she appealed.

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Under Pennsylvania law, anyone charged with a DUI has the right to be defended by competent counsel. While criminal defendants can waive the right to counsel, the waiver must be made after they are properly apprised of their rights. Otherwise, it may be invalid. What constitutes a valid waiver was discussed by a Pennsylvania court in a recent ruling in which a DUI defendant’s sentence was vacated due to the fact that he was not represented by an attorney during part of the proceedings. If you live in Pennsylvania and are charged with a DUI offense, it is advisable to speak to a dedicated Pennsylvania DUI attorney to discuss your rights.

The Alleged Offense and Subsequent Hearings

It is reported that the defendant was stopped by police due to suspicion of DUI. Following the stop, he was placed under arrest and transported to a hospital to undergo a blood test. He was charged with DUI highest rate of alcohol and DUI general impairment. The defendant, who was not represented by an attorney, filed a motion prior to trial in which he argued that the statements he made to police during the investigation and the results of his blood test should be suppressed. The court held a hearing on the matter but ultimately dismissed the defendant’s motion.

Allegedly, after the court dismissed the defendant’s motion, the defendant signed a waiver of counsel form. The form stated that the court conducted a colloquy with the defendant and determined that he had made an intelligent, knowing, and voluntary waiver of the right to be represented by an attorney. The defendant was found guilty and sentenced, after which he appealed, arguing the court erred in denying his motion to suppress.

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Many people who are stopped for suspicion of DUI are reluctant to submit to a blood test and believe that if the Commonwealth does not obtain their blood alcohol level, the prosecution will not be able to obtain a conviction. As illustrated in a recent Pennsylvania DUI case, though, such a belief is inaccurate, and a person can be convicted of DUI based on circumstantial evidence alone. If you are charged with a Pennsylvania DUI crime, it is important to understand your rights, and you should meet with a skilled Pennsylvania DUI defense attorney to determine what defenses you may be able to set forth at trial.

The Defendant’s Stop and Arrest

It is alleged that the arresting officer observed the defendant’s car in the corner of a bar parking lot with its hood up. The officer took note of the car because the bar was closed and no one else was in the lot. He then observed the defendant drive the car onto a nearby roadway and proceed to drive erratically. After the defendant almost veered off the road, the officer activated his sirens and stopped him.

Reportedly, the officer noticed that the defendant’s speech was slurred, and his eyes were glassy and bloodshot and that he smelled of alcohol. The defendant admitted to consuming three beers over a six-hour period. He denied that he was intoxicated, however. The officer requested that the defendant submitted to field sobriety testing, but he refused. He was then transported to the police station, where he refused to submit to a blood test. He was then charged with and convicted of driving under the influence – general impairment. Following his conviction, he appealed, arguing there was insufficient evidence to sustain a guilty verdict.

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Although the Pennsylvania statute prohibiting people from operating a vehicle on a public roadway while incapable of doing so safely due to the consumption of alcohol is referred to as a DUI statute, a person does not need to be stopped while driving a vehicle to be convicted of a DUI. Further, as demonstrated in a recent Pennsylvania appellate court case, a defendant can be convicted of a DUI even if he or she was not in or near his or her car at the time of arrest, as long as there is sufficient evidence to establish that the defendant operated the vehicle while impaired due to the consumption of alcohol. If you are accused of committing a DUI offense, it is wise to speak with a trusted Pennsylvania DUI defense attorney regarding what evidence may be introduced against you at trial.

Factual Background

Allegedly, the police responded to a call that a woman was lying in the middle of a road, screaming. They questioned the woman, who reported that the defendant had been driving her home but that he kicked her out of his truck. The police traveled to the defendant’s home and questioned the defendant, who admitted to drinking beer that evening, and that he kicked the woman out of his car. He was arrested for assault and suspicion of DUI. He submitted to a breathalyzer test, which revealed his blood alcohol content (BAC) to be .132%. He was charged with multiple DUI crimes, including DUI general impairment, and was ultimately convicted of DUI general impairment. The defendant appealed, arguing there was insufficient evidence to support his conviction. The appellate court disagreed, however, affirming his conviction.

Evidence Sufficient to Prove a Defendant was Under the Influence of Alcohol

Under Pennsylvania law, if the evidence submitted at trial is sufficient to support the elements of an offense when viewed most favorably to the verdict winner, the verdict will be upheld. The court noted that while a DUI general impairment charge requires the prosecution to prove that the defendant operated a vehicle during a time when the defendant was impaired due to the use of alcohol, it did not require the prosecution to prove that the defendant did not consume any alcohol after he drove.

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Although entrapment is not a defense commonly asserted in DUI cases, that does not mean it is not viable. A defendant alleging entrapment faces a high burden of proof, however, and the defense is often unsuccessful. This was demonstrated in a recent case ruled on by a Pennsylvania appellate court, in which the court found that a DWI defendant failed to produce evidence sufficient to prove entrapment. If you were recently charged with a DUI crime, it is in your best interest to confer with a knowledgeable Pennsylvania DUI attorney to discuss your options for protecting your rights.

Facts of the Case

It is reported that the police were investigating the defendant for another criminal matter and traveled to the defendant’s house to interview him. The defendant was not home, but his son answered the door and used his phone to call the defendant. He was unable to reach the defendant initially, but a few minutes later advised the officer that the defendant was on the phone. The officer spoke with the defendant and asked him where he was, but the defendant refused to disclose his location and hung up the phone.

Allegedly, the officer then advised the defendant’s son that he would seek a warrant if the defendant refused to speak with him. A few minutes later, the defendant’s son reported that the defendant was on his way home. Upon the defendant’s arrival, the officer observed that he was intoxicated and arrested him for DUI. Following a trial, the defendant was found guilty. The defendant appealed, arguing the verdict was against the weight of the evidence of his entrapment defense. Specifically, the defendant argued that the officer directed him to drive home despite the fact that he admitted to drinking.

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In the majority of cases in which a defendant is charged with a DUI offense, the Commonwealth will rely on the results of the defendant’s breathalyzer test as evidence of the defendant’s guilt. Thus, if a defendant can prove that the test was administered via a faulty breathalyzer machine, he or she may be able to argue that the results are inaccurate and, therefore, should be deemed inadmissible.  In a recent case in which a DUI defendant moved to suppress the results of her breathalyzer test, the Superior Court of Pennsylvania discussed regulations governing the use of breathalyzer tests. If you reside in Pennsylvania and are charged with a DUI crime following a breathalyzer test, it is advisable to consult a proficient Pennsylvania DUI attorney to discuss what defenses may be available in your case.

Facts of the Case

It is alleged that the defendant was arrested due to suspicion of DUI. She was transported to the police headquarters, where she submitted to a breathalyzer test. The test indicated her blood alcohol content to be 0.225. She was then charged with DUI – highest rate of alcohol. In an unrelated case, discovery revealed that the breathalyzer device used to administer the defendant’s test produced inconsistent results five months prior to the defendant’s arrest. The device was then removed from service, recalibrated, and retested prior to being placed back into service. No repairs were made on the device.

Reportedly, the defendant filed a motion to suppress the results of her breathalyzer test, arguing that the device should have been repaired before it was placed back into service. The court denied the motion, and the defendant was convicted as charged. She then appealed the court’s denial of her motion to suppress.

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