It is not uncommon for Pennsylvania drivers to be charged with DUI following a traffic stop for other alleged traffic violations. The police must have a reasonable basis for conducting a traffic stop, however, and if they lack sufficient cause to stop a driver any evidence recovered during the stop may be inadmissible. Recently, the Superior Court of Pennsylvania addressed what constitutes adequate grounds for effectuating a stop in a case in which a defendant was charged with DUI following a stop for driving unsafely. If you are faced with a DUI charge arising out of a stop for a different alleged traffic violation you should meet with a seasoned Pennsylvania DUI defense attorney to discuss your case and what defenses you may be able to set forth to avoid a conviction.
Factual Background of the Case
Reportedly, the defendant was driving on a Pennsylvania road at 11:00 pm on a Friday evening. A police officer traveling in the opposite direction observed the defendant cross the center line, after which the officer made a U-turn and began following the defendant. The officer reportedly then watched the defendant go over the center line two more times. Additionally, the officer watched the defendant cross over the fog line approximately six or seven times. The officer turned on his patrol lights and stopped the defendant for violating provisions of the Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Code.
It is alleged that when the officer approached the defendant’s car the defendant was fumbling around, had bloodshot, glassy eyes, and smelled of alcohol. The officer asked the defendant to submit to breath and field sobriety testing, but the defendant refused. Additionally, the defendant reportedly became combative when the officer asked him if he had been drinking that night. The officer ultimately arrested the defendant, who was charged with DUI, general impairment. Prior to his trial, the defendant moved to suppress any evidence obtained during the traffic stop, which the trial court denied. The defendant was convicted, after which he appealed. Continue reading