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Number of DUIs Down this New Year’s, but Some Drivers Still Need a Defense

January 28, 2020

By van der Veen, Hartshorn, Levin & Lindheim

It was not long in the days following New Year’s Eve that Pennsylvania State Police released data regarding the amount of drivers arrested for driving under the influence over the holiday. The data showed that between December 31, 2019, and January 2, 2020, the State Police arrested 279 people for driving under the influence. While that number may sound high, it is a significant drop from the 406 people arrested during last year’s enforcement period.

Although this is positive news, there is a good chance that some of those drivers arrested were innocent, and need a solid defense. Below are just a few of the defenses that are often used in DUI cases, and that may be used in yours if you are facing charges.

You Were Not Under the Influence

After law enforcement pulls a driver over for a suspected DUI, they immediately begin to look for signs of impairment. This could include bloodshot eyes, or a flushed face. There are other reasons a driver may have these symptoms, though. Allergies could be to blame for bloodshot eyes, and people that have a fever are often flush in the face. Law enforcement officers are likely going to disregard these explanations as excuses, and may proceed with field sobriety tests that result in an arrest anyway. This is not valid, and the results of these tests can be challenged.

The Stop was Illegal

Unless it is at a DUI checkpoint, law enforcement cannot pull a driver over unless they are suspected of a DUI or other traffic infraction. If you did not violate any traffic laws, police must have seen signs of a possible DUI. These can include your vehicle weaving in between lanes, braking without cause, or nearly hitting an object or another vehicle. If you did not exhibit any signs that could indicate a DUI, the stop is illegal and any evidence obtained from it is not admissible in court.

Tests Were Not Administered Correctly

Under Pennsylvania’s implied consent laws, all drivers provide consent for certain tests such as breathalyzers and blood tests that can establish a person’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC). However, the tests used to detect alcohol in the system, particularly breathalyzers, are notoriously inaccurate. They are often not calibrated correctly, and can produce incorrect results. In fact, in 2013 a Pennsylvania court determined that many of the breathalyzers used by law enforcement are not accurate.

Other tests, such as field sobriety tests, are completely subjective. Officers must follow strict guidelines when administering them. If the equipment was faulty, or an officer deviated from the set guidelines, the tests are not accurate and cannot be used in the case.

Our Pennsylvania Criminal Defense Attorneys can Help With Your Case

Being charged with a DUI is scary, as you consider all the different consequences you may face. However, you do not have to face these alone and an Allentown criminal defense attorney can help ensure those penalties never happen. At van der Veen, Hartshorn, Levin & Lindheim, we know how to defend against DUI charges and we will use our experience to give you the best chance of beating the charges. Call us today at (215) 486-0123 to schedule your free consultation so we can discuss your case.



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