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Spotlight Issue: Should I plead guilty to my DUI charge?

by | Jul 12, 2015 | Uncategorized | 0 comments

If you’ve been charged with a DUI you might be feeling like it is pointless to try to fight your case. You may feel this way because you believe that you were driving badly or failed your Field Sobriety Tests (FST’s) or had a blood draw that shows your blood alcohol content was over the legal limit. Does that mean that a conviction for DUI is automatic? NO.

While it may be true that the police follow all of the rules in a majority of DUI cases, that doesn’t mean that the rules were followed in your case. The only way for you to make sure that your DUI stop and arrest were handled properly is to have your case reviewed by one of our Berks County DUI attorneys. If a mistake was made by the police, then our attorneys will file the appropriate motions in court and, if necessary, represent you at a pretrial hearing or trial.

Our DUI attorneys will examine your case and looked for mistakes made by the police. Here are examples of some common mistakes:

– Illegal stop of your vehicle – police need to have reasonable suspicion that you are driving under the influence (or committing another crime) before they can pull you over to investigate. If the police pulled you over without reasonable suspicion that a crime was being committed, the evidence obtained after that traffic stop may be thrown out.

– FST’s not administered correctly – there is a specific way that the tests need to be explained and demonstrated by the police officer. Further, there are only certain types of FST’s that can be admitted into court. If there were mistakes made in the administration of the FST’s, that evidence may be thrown out.

– Video of FST’s – sometimes the video doesn’t show the poor performance on the tests that the police officer reported. Some police cars in Berks County have dashboard cameras that will record a traffic stop and FST’s. You may also be asked to perform the FST’s at the DUI Processing Center, in which case there will almost always be video of you performing the tests. While a police officer may report that you failed to walk straight or maintain your balance, the video may not tell the same story. In addition, a video may show that roadside FST’s were done under bad conditions such as poor light and uneven surfaces.

– Implied consent warnings must be given – before a police officer can request that you submit to a blood draw or breathalyzer (chemical testing), he or she must read you the implied consent warnings. These warnings inform you of your right to refuse the chemical testing and the consequences for that refusal. If the warnings were not read to you, the chemical testing results or your refusal to submit to the testing may be thrown out.

– Police officer lacked reasonable suspicion to request chemical testing – an officer needs to have reasonable suspicion that you were driving under the influence before he can request that you submit to a blood draw or breathalyzer. If the officer lacked reasonable suspicion before he made the request, then the results may be thrown out.

– Chemical testing must be done within 2 hours of the vehicle stop – the Pennsylvania DUI statute indicates that chemical testing needs to be done within 2 hours of the traffic stop. There is an exception to this rule, but the Commonwealth has to show that there was good cause for the time requirement not being met AND establish that the driver did not imbibe or ingest any alcohol or controlled substances between the time of driving and the testing. If the 2 hour rule is not followed and the Commonwealth is not able to prove an exception, the chemical testing results may be thrown out.

– Breathalyzer calibration not documented – the Pennsylvania DUI statute requires that breathalyzer machines be properly calibrated before their results can be used in court. If you were given a breathalyzer rather than a blood draw then the Commonwealth has to be able to establish the accuracy of the machine that was used to test your breath. If they are not able to do so then the test results may be thrown out.

A DUI can have a big impact on your life. Before you decide to plead guilty to a DUI you should have your case reviewed by an experienced DUI attorney. Our attorneys will examine whether any mistakes were made in your case and advise you as to the best way to proceed. If you’ve been charged with a DUI call us at 610-372-5128 or email us [email protected]



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