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