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Court Discusses Evidence Sufficient to Sustain a Pennsylvania DUI General Impairment Conviction

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.

Further, the court stated that a fact finder may consider a defendant’s BAC even if the prosecution does not relate the defendant’s BAC back to the time the defendant was allegedly driving and that the time between the driving and testing did not affect whether the test results were admissible, but merely spoke to the weight of the evidence. Here, the court found that evidence produced established that the defendant drove his truck at approximately 3:00 am, which is when the call to the police was made, and his BAC was .132% at 5:20, which supported the finding that he was impaired while he operated his vehicle.

Meet with a Seasoned DUI Defense Attorney

If you are charged with a Pennsylvania DUI crime, it is in your best interest to meet with a seasoned attorney to discuss your potential defenses. Attorney Zachary B. Cooper is a Pennsylvania DUI defense attorney with the skills and resources needed to help you strive for a successful result, and he will work tirelessly on your behalf. Mr. Cooper can be contacted via the online form or at  (215) 542-0800 to schedule a meeting.