If the police suspect that a person is driving under the influence of alcohol, they will typically detain them and conduct an investigation. The police do not have the authority to stop people without reasonable suspicion that they are committing a crime, though, and if they do, any evidence obtained during the stop may be inadmissible. In a recent Pennsylvania ruling issued in a DUI case, the court explained the differences between a mere encounter and an investigatory stop, ultimately rejecting the defendant’s argument that the stop in question was unlawful. If you are accused of a DUI offense, it is in your best interest to consult a Pennsylvania DUI defense attorney to assess your potential defenses.
History of the Case
It is alleged that the defendant was charged with multiple DUI crimes. The charges arose out of an encounter in which a police officer observed that she appeared lethargic and had a distant gaze while driving, followed her, and approached her after she parked and exited her car. They engaged in a conversation, and the officer immediately detected the strong smell of alcohol on the defendant’s breath.
It is reported that the defendant performed poorly on field sobriety tests and underwent a blood draw, which revealed a BAC that was three times over the legal limit. Following her charges, the defendant filed a motion asserting that the traffic stop was unlawful and sought to suppress any evidence obtained from it. The trial court denied her motion, and a trial was held on stipulated facts. She was found guilty, and she appealed. Continue reading