When someone has been arrested and charged with a DUI offense in West Chester, or anywhere in Pennsylvania – there are three types of common DUI defense arguments (among others) to the DUI charges. Theses three general DUI defenses are:
- The Law
- The Facts
- The Science
When officers conduct vehicle stops, they are required to have either reasonable suspicion or probable cause, depending on the circumstances. If the officer did not possess one of these legal justifications the stop of the vehicle will be found to be unconstitutional and the evidence flowing from it will be “suppressed.” There is a large body of case law that addressed the legal sufficiency of traffic stops by law enforcement in DUI matters. An experienced DUI criminal defense lawyer should be familiar with the law and decide whether a motion should be filed to contest the basis for the vehicle stop.
In many DUI cases, in particular, DUI cases where the person charged refused chemical testing and where the Commonwealth is alleging that the driver was “incapable of safe driving” the facts become the focal point of the case. In order to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt, the Commonwealth must show that the individual was incapable of safely driving due to the amount of alcohol he/she drank without the added benefit of an objective scientific test (i.e. blood test/breath test results). Police officers typically cite the same, or similar core group of observations that led them to believe the driver was incapable of safe driving due to the level of alcohol they consumed. Typically, these observations include glassy, watery or bloodshot eyes, the odor of alcohol, sluggish responses, and more. A skilled criminal defense lawyer will analyze the facts and circumstances of a particular case and prepare an argument to show why the Commonwealth’s evidence does not support the beyond a reasonable doubt standard and why the facts cited do not provide any insight into how much alcohol someone has consumed.
There are certain requirements that the breath and blood tests must follow in order to ensure accuracy in each case. If those methods/requirements are not followed the science behind the accuracy of the results may become an issue and may lead to a defense in a DUI case. It is the Commonwealth’s burden to present evidence sufficient to show that all of the scientific requirements have been met. When they cannot, the accuracy of the chemical testing may be called into question or kept out of the case all together.
The above listed information are three overarching defense categories and by no means represent the entire body of potential DUI defenses available in any given case. When arrested for a DUI offense it is crucial to contact a skilled and knowledgeable DUI lawyer immediately to properly analyze your case and begin planning a defense strategy.
The above listed information does not include the entire crimes code, annotations, amendments or any recent changes that may be relevant. The information provided is for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments. These materials are not intended, and should not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. It is intended solely for informational purposes.
Michael DiCindio is a West Chester criminal defense lawyer who represents individuals accused of crimes throughout all of Chester County, including West Chester, Phoenixville, Malvern, Coatesville, Paoli, Downingtown, Tredyffrin, West Goshen, Honey Brook, Oxford, Devon, Pottstown, Chesterbrook, Parkesburg, Kennett Square, and Avondale.