When the police stop people for suspicion of DUI, it is often due to erratic driving. Thus, it is not uncommon for a person charged with a DUI crime to face charges for other offenses, like careless driving. Pursuant to Pennsylvania law, a person must generally be tried for all crimes arising out of a single incident at one time, and if they are not, they may be able to get some of the charges against them dismissed. This was demonstrated recently in a Pennsylvania ruling in which the court ultimately dismissed DUI charges against a defendant, finding the Commonwealth was barred from prosecuting him under the compulsory joinder rule. If you are accused of a DUI crime, it is advisable to meet with a knowledgeable Pennsylvania DUI defense lawyer to determine your potential defenses.
The History of the Case
Reportedly, the police arrested the defendant during a traffic stop in Philadelphia and charged him with a misdemeanor DUI offense and a summary careless driving offense. The defendant pleaded guilty to the summary offense in January 2014, and in October 2014, proceeded to trial for the DUI charge. He was found guilty of DUI, after which he filed a motion for a trial de novo. He then moved to dismiss the charge pursuant to Pennsylvania’s compulsory joinder rule. The court denied his motion, and he appealed.
Compulsory Joinder in DUI Cases
On appeal, the defendant argued that the lower court erred in denying his motion to dismiss because he was previously convicted for an offense that arose out of the same criminal episode as the DUI offense. The Commonwealth’s defense rested on the argument that the defendant waived his right to object to his DUI prosecution when he failed to assert the compulsory joinder defense at his initial DUI proceedings. Continue reading