Your DUI Defense

Did you know?

  1. Your driver’s license may be suspended.
  2. Depending on the offense you could lose your driver’s license for as long as 1 year or more.
  3. Depending on the Conviction, penalties can run as high as $10,000
  4. You could be looking at jail time with a misdemeanor on your record

Don’t give up your legal rights without speaking to an attorney.

Is It Possible to Win Your Case?

DUI cases are tough, but they are winnable. This may be true even if there is strong evidence against you. Hard “proof” like a breath test result does not always hold up in court or even make it to court. Lawyers successfully defend DUI cases in Pennsylvania every day.

Even when a case cannot be won outright, there are often ways to reduce the charges or the penalties. Doing this requires familiarity with the law. A knowledgeable DUI defense attorney in Pennsylvania makes a huge difference.

There are several ways your case can come out in your favor, depending on the circumstances:

The charges were dropped or case is dismissed. When this happens, there is no court battle.

Cases can be dismissed for many reasons:

Because there isn’t enough evidenced against you or because your lawyer is a good negotiator. Although the charges may have been dropped or dismissed, your arrest, fingerprints and photographs are still in the system and a background check will show the arrest and dismissal. We recommend filing for immediate Expungement so the entire arrest record will eradicated.

You’re acquitted. Being acquitted means being found “Not Guilty”. The chanced of acquittal are best when you lawyer can argue that some of the evidence against you is not admissible in court.

Reduced charges.

Sometimes your lawyer can negotiate a deal for you. In a typical deal, the prosecutor agrees to reduce your charges or request a lenient sentence.

The best thing you can do to improve your odds is hire an experienced Pennsylvania drunk driving defense attorney.

The Evidence Against You

When preparing for your DUI case it’s important to understand the evidence that will be used against you, and how your attorney will defend against it. DUI evidence is not as rock solid as law enforcement would have you believe. Attorneys who focus their practice on DUI understand the weak spots and how to overcome this evidence.

There are five main types of evidence used in DUI cases:

  1. Driving patterns. Unless the DUI involves an accident, it likely started when an officer noticed erratic or unusual driving and decided to do a traffic stop. Weaving, drifting, and driving in two lanes at once are common patterns officers associate with drunk driving, but there are many more. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has a list of over 20 driving patterns that may indicate drunk driving, and says that these patterns maintain DUI with 35% accuracy. Prosecutors will refer to this erratic driving in court as part of building their case.
  2. Behavior. Once they pull you over, police officers are trained to look for certain cues that indicate you’re intoxicated. This includes obvious signs, like bloodshot and/or glassy eyes or the smell of alcohol, but also some less obvious ones. For example, fumbling with the car keys counts as a sign of intoxication, and so do trembling hands.
  3. Field sobriety tests. Officers may ask you to perform “field sobriety tests” (FSTs) where they can evaluate whether you’re acting drunk. Most of us have heard of reciting the alphabet backwards or walking a line, but there are a wide variety of standard tests to use. You are allowed to refuse a field sobriety test if you so choose.
  4. Your own statements. What police really want is for you to admit you were drinking. They will directly ask you, but they may also try to trick you: for example, asking, “How many drinks did you say you had?” You are not required to say anything to incriminate yourself, but anything you say can be used against you. (Police are not required to read you your rights and remind you of this until they actually arrest you, but they can still use pre-arrest statements against you.) The best policy when talking to police is to be polite but not offer any information that may incriminate you.
  5. Blood and breath tests. This is often thought of as the gold standard of DUI evidence, but it’s unreliable, particularly the roadside breath tests. These tests use portable devices. They are imprecise and are meant only to help an officer make a decision on whether to arrest you, but PAS evidence is NOT ADMISSABLE in court. The more reliable tests are the ones used post-arrest at a hospital or police station. In Pennsylvania, this is a blood test or breath test.
  6. Possible Evidence. DUI defense lawyers have developed strategies for combating all of these types of evidence. Driving patterns and behavior, for example, are not proof of drunkenness. There are many reasons why people swerve, drive slowly, or fumble with their keys. And officers are unreliable in reporting this behavior—they almost always say a defendant slurred his speech, even if video evidence proves that he didn’t.

Field Sobriety Tests

Field sobriety tests require subjective judgment. That judgment is made by an officer who may already be biased toward believing the driver is guilty. DUI attorneys will look for video evidence, audio evidence, or witness testimony that undermines the officer’s account. They will also look for discrepancies from the officer himself.

If you admitted to drinking, it will be held against you. But you may not have to. People who are aware of their rights rarely admit they’re guilty, and police procedures require that arrests be made a certain way. Your defense attorney will evaluate whether the police truly did their due diligence in protecting your rights, and try to have evidence thrown out if your rights were violated.

Blood and breath tests are done by machines that have to be properly calibrated, and must be carried out by individuals with the correct credentials. DUI attorneys devote a huge part of their time to understanding how these devices work and the circumstances under which they fail. They may be able to have chemical test data excluded.

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