Under Pennsylvania law, anyone charged with a DUI has the right to be defended by competent counsel. While criminal defendants can waive the right to counsel, the waiver must be made after they are properly apprised of their rights. Otherwise, it may be invalid. What constitutes a valid waiver was discussed by a Pennsylvania court in a recent ruling in which a DUI defendant’s sentence was vacated due to the fact that he was not represented by an attorney during part of the proceedings. If you live in Pennsylvania and are charged with a DUI offense, it is advisable to speak to a dedicated Pennsylvania DUI attorney to discuss your rights.
The Alleged Offense and Subsequent Hearings
It is reported that the defendant was stopped by police due to suspicion of DUI. Following the stop, he was placed under arrest and transported to a hospital to undergo a blood test. He was charged with DUI highest rate of alcohol and DUI general impairment. The defendant, who was not represented by an attorney, filed a motion prior to trial in which he argued that the statements he made to police during the investigation and the results of his blood test should be suppressed. The court held a hearing on the matter but ultimately dismissed the defendant’s motion.
Allegedly, after the court dismissed the defendant’s motion, the defendant signed a waiver of counsel form. The form stated that the court conducted a colloquy with the defendant and determined that he had made an intelligent, knowing, and voluntary waiver of the right to be represented by an attorney. The defendant was found guilty and sentenced, after which he appealed, arguing the court erred in denying his motion to suppress.