Following a bench trial in Berks County, DUI defense attorney Dan Nevins won a full acquittal for a client charged with a highest tier (BAC above .16), second offense DUI. The Client was facing a mandatory jail sentence of 90 days, an 18 month license suspension and several thousand dollars in fines and costs if convicted.
The Client was found by a Reading police officer asleep behind the wheel of a legally parked vehicle with the motor running. Attorney Nevins argued that the Commonwealth could not prove the required element of “actual physical control” of the motor vehicle to substantiate the DUI charges. To prove a DUI the Commonwealth must show beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant drove, operated or was in “actual physical control” of a motor vehicle. “Actual physical control” requires more than just the intoxicated defendant’s presence in the driver’s seat of a running car. Attorney Nevins argued that the facts of the case supported his Client’s contention that he was only inside his vehicle to “sleep it off” and wait for his ride, whom he had just called, to arrive. Indeed, the Officer conceded that when he came upon the vehicle he observed a cell phone in the Client’s right hand.
The Judge found the Client not guilty of each of the two charges – General Impairment DUI (75 Pa.C.S. 3802) as well as the BAC specific offense at 75 Pa.C.S. 3802(c) of the vehicle code. The outcome of this case clearly answers the question: “Do I need a lawyer for my DUI case?”