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In Pennsylvania, if the Commonwealth charges a person with a DUI offense, it must prove each element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt in order to obtain a conviction. As such, if the Commonwealth can establish the intoxication of a DUI defendant but not that he or she actually operated a vehicle while impaired, the defendant should be found not guilty, as demonstrated in a recent ruling in which the court vacated the defendant’s conviction. If you are charged with a DUI offense, it is in your best interest to speak to a skilled Pennsylvania DUI defense lawyer to discuss what defenses are available.

The Facts of the Case

It is reported that a police officer performed a traffic stop at 3:30 in the morning when he noticed the defendant’s motorcycle behind a large tree. The defendant briefly spoke to the driver that the officer stopped, then went back behind the tree. The officer drove away but was then dispatched back to the same location following a report of an accident. When he arrived, he saw the defendant lying next to his motorcycle and tire marks on the grass but not the road.

Allegedly, the officer smelled alcohol on the defendant’s breath and asked him to submit to field sobriety testing. The defendant failed the first test and stated he could not perform the remaining tests due to a knee injury. The officer arrested the defendant for DUI, and a breath test revealed his BAC to be 0.11%. The trial court convicted the defendant, and he appealed, arguing that the Commonwealth failed to establish beyond a reasonable doubt that he had operated a vehicle while intoxicated. Continue reading

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DUI convictions can result in substantial fines, jail time, and other penalties. Generally, the penalties increase with each DUI crime a person is convicted of committing. While the process of determining if a person has prior DUI offenses is typically straightforward, in some cases, a defendant may dispute whether a charge constitutes a second offense. For example, in a recent Pennsylvania case, a defendant argued that adjudication of DUI as a juvenile did not count as a prior offense for purposes of sentencing but failed to persuade the court. If you are charged with a DUI offense, it is smart to meet with a Pennsylvania DUI defense lawyer to discuss your potential penalties.

History of the Case

It is reported that the defendant was arrested and charged with DUI – Controlled Substance, Impaired Ability. She entered a guilty plea pursuant to the advice of her attorney and was offered Accelerated Rehabilitated Disposition (ARD) as a first-time offender. The Commonwealth then amended the information to charge her as a second-time offender due to an adjudication of delinquency in 2011, rendering her ineligible for ARD. She was sentenced as a second offender, and her sentence included a term of probation.

Allegedly, the defendant subsequently violated the conditions of her probation, and the Commonwealth moved for a revocation hearing. She then filed a motion to determine the legality of her sentence, arguing that it was unlawful because her 2011 adjudication did not constitute a prior offense under Pennsylvania law.   Continue reading

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DUI arrests often arise out of traffic stops initiated due to erratic driving. While most people pull over when they see a police car with flashing lights or sirens, some people are unaware that they are being chased and continue driving. Although police are allowed to follow fleeing individuals, there are limits to what they can do to apprehend them in situations involving misdemeanors. The United States Supreme Court affirmed this in a recent ruling issued in a case in which the defendant was charged with a DUI following a warrantless arrest. If you are faced with charges that you committed a DUI crime, it is in your best interest to speak to a Pennsylvania DUI defense lawyer about your options.

The Defendant’s Arrest

It is alleged that the defendant was blaring his horn and listening to loud music while driving. He drove by a police officer, who immediately began following him. In an attempt to compel the defendant to stop, the officer turned on his overhead lights. The defendant kept driving, though, and eventually entered his garage. The officer stopped the defendant’s garage door from closing, stepped into the garage, and began interviewing the defendant. He noticed that the defendant smelled like he had been drinking alcohol and was acting inebriated.

According to reports, the police then asked the defendant to take field sobriety tests. The defendant performed poorly on the tests and was arrested for DWI. Lab tests revealed that his BAC was over three times the legal limit. The defendant asked for the evidence against him to be suppressed, claiming that it was obtained without a warrant, in violation of his Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable search and seizure. The court refused his motion, and the case went to the Supreme Court following a series of appeals. Continue reading

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Not all Pennsylvania DUI charges arise out of traffic stops. Instead, in many instances, police officers will approach a person sitting in a parked vehicle for purposes other than investigating a crime and will ultimately determine the individual drove while intoxicated. The police must have reasonable suspicion that a person engaged in criminal activity in order to detain and question a person, though, and if they do not, it may constitute a violation of the Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable search and seizure. Recently, a Pennsylvania court issued an opinion that discussed what constitutes reasonable suspicion in a DUI case in which the defendant appealed his conviction. If you are accused of committing a DUI crime, it is prudent to meet with a Pennsylvania DUI defense attorney regarding your rights.

The Defendant’s Arrest

Allegedly, a police officer was dispatched to a residential neighborhood due to reports of a suspicious car. When he arrived, he found the defendant asleep behind the wheel of his parked car. The car, which was running, was parked legally. The officer parked his patrol car directly behind the defendant’s vehicle and approached the defendant’s window. The defendant awoke, and the officer asked him if he was okay. When the defendant responded, the officer noted an odor of alcohol and that the defendant had slurred speech and bloodshot eyes.

Reportedly, the defendant admitted he was drinking the night before and stated he did not know how he arrives at his current location. A second officer arrived and questioned the defendant. The police ultimately asked the defendant to submit to field sobriety testing. He complied and performed poorly on the tests. He was then arrested and charged with DUI. He moved to suppress the evidence against him on the grounds the police lacked reasonable suspicion to detain him. His motion was denied, and he was convicted, after which he filed an appeal. Continue reading

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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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