In Pennsylvania, there are numerous DUI offenses a defendant may be charged with committing. For example, a defendant with a blood alcohol level of 0.15% or higher may be charged with driving under the influence – highest rate of alcohol. To prove a defendant is guilty of DUI – highest rate, the Commonwealth must not only prove the defendant’s blood-alcohol level but also that the defendant operated a vehicle within two hours prior to when the blood alcohol level was obtained. In a recent case in which the defendant was charged with DUI – highest rate, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania discussed what evidence is sufficient to establish that a defendant operated a vehicle within the required time period. If you live in Pennsylvania and are charged with DUI – highest rate, it is advisable to meet with a trusted Pennsylvania DUI attorney to assess what evidence the Commonwealth may use against you to establish your guilt.
Facts of the Case and Procedural Background
It is alleged that the police responded to a call that was placed at 11:49 pm regarding a motor vehicle collision. When the police arrived at the scene, they observed the defendant in the back of an ambulance. She smelled like alcohol, had slurred speech, and was missing her shoes. She was transported to a hospital where her blood was drawn, revealing a blood alcohol level of 0.304%. The blood test was conducted at 1:40 am. The defendant was subsequently charged with DUI – highest rate of alcohol.
Reportedly, the defendant filed a motion to have the charge dismissed on the grounds that the Commonwealth could not establish a prima facie case, due to the lapse of time between when the accident occurred and when the defendant’s blood was drawn. The Commonwealth appealed, and the Superior Court reversed the trial court ruling. The defendant then appealed to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.