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