Until you have been convicted and sentenced, you are not guilty in the eyes of the law. It is up to the prosecutors to prove your guilt “beyond a reasonable doubt.” Winning a DUI is possible whether you’ve been charged with a first DUI, second DUI or multiple DUIs.
Consider the following 11 possibilities for beating a DUI case in Pennsylvania:
1. The Traffic Stop & Arrest Were Illegal
If the arresting law officers did not have “probable cause” to pull your vehicle over, the stop was illegal and all evidence will be thrown out of court. The arresting officers also needed to have reasonable suspicion that you were under the influence of alcohol or drugs – if their suspicions can be disproved, your case could be won.
2. The Field Sobriety Test Was Improperly Administered
If the arresting officers did not follow standard procedures when administering your field sobriety test or if the results of the test were inaccurate, your charges could be dropped or you could have your sentence reduced.
3. Diversion Programs
If this is a first time DUI or if you are eligible for certain diversion programs such as treatment programs, it may be possible for you to be accepted into a diversion program, such as the ARD Program, which could wipe your record clean and significantly reduce penalties. An experienced DUI attorney can assist with this process.
4. The Defendant Was Not Operating the Vehicle
If the police cannot prove that you were behind the wheel, they do not have a case and your charges will be dropped.
5. Invalid Breath Test Results (BAC Level)
If the police did not follow proper procedures when administering your Breathalyzer test, or if the device malfunctioned, the results may not hold up in court.
6. Invalid Blood Test Results (BAC Level)
Although blood tests are the most reliable form of Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) level testing, several things can still go wrong during the process of blood testing to make the results inaccurate.
Failing a Breathalyzer or blood test does not inherently equate to a guilty verdict in court. A recent (2016) ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court, known as “The Birchfield Ruling,” has the potential to lead to the overturning of previous DUI convictions or a significant reduction in sentencing. However, the outcome depends on the specific circumstances of your case.
7. Failure to Read the Implied Consent Warning
The officer who administers the blood test or Breathalyzer must read an implied consent warning before you take the test. They cannot coerce you in any way to take the test. Failure to read the implied consent will result in a full case dismissal.
8. Medical and Health Problems
If you were under the duress of a medical condition or were taking certain medication at the time of your arrest, it may be possible to have the police evidence suppressed. A high fever could cause the test results to be inaccurate.
9. An Illegal DUI Checkpoint
The constitutionality of a DUI checkpoint may be challenged if the police did not follow proper procedures.
10. Failure to Provide Complete Discovery
Your charges could be dismissed if all required evidence from the police is not submitted to the judge.
11. Your Right to a Speedy Trial
If the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania exceeds the limited amount of time to try your case, it could be dismissed.
Take Action to Defend Your Rights After a DUI Charge
These are just a few instances that could allow for your DUI to be dismissed or your sentence reduced. Every DUI case is unique and you should discuss the specifics of your case with an experienced DUI attorney to know best how to proceed.
The consequences of a DUI conviction could be devastating – on your future, your wallet and your personal life. But no case is ever hopeless – whether this is your first DUI in PA or if you have been charged with a felony DUI, you have the right to fight back and challenge your DUI charges. It is entirely possible to win a DUI or DWI in court, even when the odds seem stacked against you.
At SMT Legal, we defend clients every day who face DUI charges. We have the experience to fully investigate DUI cases and find fault with the prosecution’s argument in order to get DUI cases dismissed or have the sentencing and fines reduced. If you would like to speak to an attorney, free of charge, about your case contact us today. There is no charge in speaking to Pittsburgh DUI attorney Christopher Thomas – call him today for a free consultation.