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Are There Defenses To DUIs In Pennsylvania?

August 17, 2021

By van der Veen, Hartshorn, Levin & Lindheim

No one ever wants to hear a police siren and see the flashing lights in their rearview mirror while they are on the road. The situation sometimes only becomes worse when a driver realizes law enforcement suspects them of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. That was exactly the scenario several drivers in Newtown faced recently. Our Philadelphia DUI lawyers know that not every charge results in a conviction, and that there are defenses to this offense. The most common of these are found below.

You Were Not Under the Influence

Before a police officer asks you to submit to field sobriety tests or chemical tests, they will look for signs that you are intoxicated. However, those signs are often misunderstood. For example, you may have red eyes due to allergies, and not because you were under the influence. Then, during testing, the officer may not administer the tests correctly or they may not interpret the results properly.

You Were Not Driving

Clearly, if you were not driving the vehicle, you cannot be charged with a DUI. While it may not seem possible that passengers could face DUI charges, it happens more often than you think, most often when a DUI has resulted in an accident. The aftermath of an accident is always confusing. Passengers may be walking around the accident scene while they are under the influence and police officers mistakenly think they were driving the vehicle at the time of the crash.

The Stop was Illegal

Police must follow certain procedures when they charge people with a DUI, and one of the steps they must take is to only stop you if they have probable cause that you are committing a crime. For example, if police see a car weaving in and out of lanes on the road, that is suspicious behavior that could indicate drunk driving. The police would have probable cause to stop you. On the other hand, if police only stopped you because of the color of your skin, that is an illegal stop and can provide a defense to DUI charges.

The DUI Checkpoint was Illegal

DUI checkpoints are generally considered legal, but there are very strict standards and guidelines that must be met. Checkpoints must only be set up in areas that are known for drunk drivers, and roadblocks must be clearly marked. Also, police officers cannot suddenly change the location from the one supervising officials agreed on. Any time these guidelines are not followed, it can serve as a defense to a DUI.

Call Our DUI Lawyers in Philadelphia Today

While the above are some very effective defenses in DUI cases, they are also just some of the most common. If you have been charged with a DUI, our Philadelphia DUI lawyers at van der Veen, Hartshorn, Levin & Lindheim can advise on your case and provide the defense you need. Call us today at (215) 486-0123 or fill out our online form to schedule a consultation and to learn more about how we can help.



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