When you are arrested for drunk driving, you might believe that you cannot avoid being convicted, especially if you have been drinking. You may believe that the prosecution will automatically win based on your performance on the roadside sobriety tests, the breathalyzer results, and the officer’s description of your behavior and appearance. Before you give up, remember that in Pennsylvania, drinking and driving is not against the law, but drunk driving is. This means that the state must prove that you were intoxicated beyond a reasonable doubt.In addition, if the police violated your rights or made errors while investigating your case, evidence critical to the prosecution’s case may not be allowed to be used against you.
Here are some of the more common defenses raised in Pennsylvania DUI defense cases:
Challenging the Reason for the Initial Traffic Stop – For a traffic stop to be valid, the officer that pulled you over needed to have reasonable suspicion that you may be involved in a crime that was being or had been recently committed. If she cannot establish reasonable suspicion, the traffic stop will be invalidated and any evidence gathered from the stop will likely be suppressed.
Introducing Evidence that Questions the Results of the Breathalyzer Test – Breathalyzer machines must be properly calibrated and used to provide accurate results—if they provide accurate results at all. Evidence that the device was improperly calibrated or that the officer who administered the test was not sufficiently trained can result in the test result being excluded as evidence against you.
Arguing that You Have a Medical Condition that Affect Breathalyzer Results – A person suffering from Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, or GERD, can have stomach contents travel back up through the esophagus and into the mouth, potentially causing greater-than-normal alcohol in the mouth and inaccurately high breathalyzer results.
Establishing that the “Indicators of Intoxication” Observed Were Caused by a Medical Condition – Many of the things that officers look for when evaluating a driver’s sobriety, such as bloodshot eyes, slurred speech, and even body odor, can be caused by a number of medical conditions that have nothing to do with the consumption of alcohol.
These defenses, and others that may be available in your case, may not become apparent unless your case is first thoroughly reviewed by an experienced Philly DUI lawyer.
Call Skinner Law Today to Speak with a West Chester DUI Defense Lawyer Today
If you are facing a DUI case in Pennsylvania, do not make the mistake of assuming that your only option is to plead guilty and accept your sentence. As a former prosecutor, West Chester DUI attorneyMichael Skinner knows the best ways to avoid conviction and is often able to spot significant weaknesses in the state’s case. To schedule a free consultation with Mr. Skinner, call us today at 610-436-1410 or send us an email through our online contact form.
Michael J. Skinner, the founder of Skinner Law Firm LLC, is a former prosecutor with the Chester County District Attorney’s Office.