Articles Posted in DUI Appeal

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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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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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Many people who are stopped for suspicion of DUI are reluctant to submit to a blood test and believe that if the Commonwealth does not obtain their blood alcohol level, the prosecution will not be able to obtain a conviction. As illustrated in a recent Pennsylvania DUI case, though, such a belief is inaccurate, and a person can be convicted of DUI based on circumstantial evidence alone. If you are charged with a Pennsylvania DUI crime, it is important to understand your rights, and you should meet with a skilled Pennsylvania DUI defense attorney to determine what defenses you may be able to set forth at trial.

The Defendant’s Stop and Arrest

It is alleged that the arresting officer observed the defendant’s car in the corner of a bar parking lot with its hood up. The officer took note of the car because the bar was closed and no one else was in the lot. He then observed the defendant drive the car onto a nearby roadway and proceed to drive erratically. After the defendant almost veered off the road, the officer activated his sirens and stopped him.

Reportedly, the officer noticed that the defendant’s speech was slurred, and his eyes were glassy and bloodshot and that he smelled of alcohol. The defendant admitted to consuming three beers over a six-hour period. He denied that he was intoxicated, however. The officer requested that the defendant submitted to field sobriety testing, but he refused. He was then transported to the police station, where he refused to submit to a blood test. He was then charged with and convicted of driving under the influence – general impairment. Following his conviction, he appealed, arguing there was insufficient evidence to sustain a guilty verdict.

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Although the Pennsylvania statute prohibiting people from operating a vehicle on a public roadway while incapable of doing so safely due to the consumption of alcohol is referred to as a DUI statute, a person does not need to be stopped while driving a vehicle to be convicted of a DUI. Further, as demonstrated in a recent Pennsylvania appellate court case, a defendant can be convicted of a DUI even if he or she was not in or near his or her car at the time of arrest, as long as there is sufficient evidence to establish that the defendant operated the vehicle while impaired due to the consumption of alcohol. If you are accused of committing a DUI offense, it is wise to speak with a trusted Pennsylvania DUI defense attorney regarding what evidence may be introduced against you at trial.

Factual Background

Allegedly, the police responded to a call that a woman was lying in the middle of a road, screaming. They questioned the woman, who reported that the defendant had been driving her home but that he kicked her out of his truck. The police traveled to the defendant’s home and questioned the defendant, who admitted to drinking beer that evening, and that he kicked the woman out of his car. He was arrested for assault and suspicion of DUI. He submitted to a breathalyzer test, which revealed his blood alcohol content (BAC) to be .132%. He was charged with multiple DUI crimes, including DUI general impairment, and was ultimately convicted of DUI general impairment. The defendant appealed, arguing there was insufficient evidence to support his conviction. The appellate court disagreed, however, affirming his conviction.

Evidence Sufficient to Prove a Defendant was Under the Influence of Alcohol

Under Pennsylvania law, if the evidence submitted at trial is sufficient to support the elements of an offense when viewed most favorably to the verdict winner, the verdict will be upheld. The court noted that while a DUI general impairment charge requires the prosecution to prove that the defendant operated a vehicle during a time when the defendant was impaired due to the use of alcohol, it did not require the prosecution to prove that the defendant did not consume any alcohol after he drove.

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