DUI cases are notoriously difficult to win in court. However, there are a few telltale signs that a DUI case is weak and may be worth fighting. Therefore, if you are facing a DUI charge, it is essential to have an experienced driving while intoxicated lawyer fighting for you in court. In the following blog post, I will go over some common and uncommon reasons the district attorney may have difficulty convicting you of driving under the influence.
DUI Lawyer Montgomery County PA
Have the police charged you with a weak or questionable DUI in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania? Fortunately, I have over a decade of experience defending drivers in Philadelphia and suburban Pennsylvania Counties. In addition, I offer affordable rates and payment plans.
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The Police Called a Tow Truck Before they Stopped Your Car
Surprisingly, this situation occurred in a DUI case I defended in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. A police officer pulled over my client on Route 1 due to suspicion of driving under the influence. The police conducted field sobriety tests and arrested my client after concluding that he was driving while impaired.
The client requested a trial before a judge in the Bucks County Court of Common Pleas. The client and the police officer who made the DUI arrest testified during the trial. The Defendant testified that, before the police pulled him over, he observed the police patrol car and a tow truck following closely behind the police vehicle. The police officer never denied that he called for a tow truck before the DUI stop of the driver.
The Court’s Ruling
Ultimately, the DUI trial judge dismissed all of the Defendant’s DUI charges. The judge concluded that the police officer decided that he would stop and arrest my client for DUI before conducting any investigation.
Furthermore, the court concluded that the police officer’s decision to call for a pre-arrest tow truck violated my client’s constitutional rights. Finally, the judge concluded that the police officer’s decision to contact the tow truck operator before the DUI stop tainted the entire case.
The Police Can’t Prove You Were the Driver of the Car
Being behind the wheel of a car does not automatically mean that the police can prove the “actual physical control” element to convict you of DUI. In other words, the police can’t prove you were driving the car. Furthermore, there are many completely innocent situations where a person may be behind the wheel of a vehicle but not driving while impaired by drugs or alcohol, including:
- Instead of driving, you choose to sleep in your car until you are sober
- You are not drunk but are too tired to drive safely
- You switched places with the actual driver of the car
- You were behind the wheel of the vehicle due to a medical emergency
If the police can’t prove you were behind the wheel, it is doubtful that the DA will be able to prove you are guilty of DUI.
You Were Legally Justified to Drive Under the Influence
Most people believe that the justification defense only applies in assault cases (self-defense). However, the justification defense also applies in DUI and driving under suspension cases. In addition, the Pennsylvania justification law requires that the harm you are avoiding by driving under the influence or driving under suspension must be greater than the harm caused by driving while impaired.
The Bucks County Justification DUI Case
For example, I won the dismissal of DUI charges in a case where my client was charged with driving under the influence of marijuana in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. The client was followed continuously in her car by a stalker from New Jersey into Bucks County, where she ultimately ran out of gas.
The stalker proceeded to damage the client’s vehicle and fled the scene. The client called the police to report the stalking incident and was arrested for DUI. The client requested a jury trial arguing that she was justified in driving under the influence due to the severe threat she faced from the stalker.
Fortunately, I persuaded the district attorney to withdraw all DUI charges halfway through the pre-trial suppression hearing.
The Police Failed to Perform Field Sobriety Tests
If the police fail to conduct DUI field sobriety tests before a DUI arrest, the entire case can be dealt a death blow. There are many reasons that the police may decide not to ask you to submit to field sobriety testing, including:
- You were seriously injured as a result of a traffic accident
- You were in a medical state of shock as a result of head trauma
- You have a pre-existing physical or neurological injury that prevents you from completing the tests
- There is no safe place for you to take the tests (ex: high traffic area without a roadway shoulder)
The absence of field sobriety tests in a DUI case can make it extremely difficult for a prosecutor to prove that you were driving while impaired. Also, prosecutors always want evidence that a driver failed field sobriety testing to present to a judge or a jury.
Furthermore, the lack of field sobriety testing gives the accused the right to challenge whether the DUI arrest was legal in a pre-trial hearing referred to as a suppression hearing. I am successful in getting DUI charges dismissed when law enforcement officers do not conduct standardized or non-standardized field sobriety tests.
The Police Lost or Destroyed the Dash Cam or Body Cam Evidence
DUI body cam and DUI dash cam recordings are crucial evidence in a driving under the influence case. In many cases, dash cam and body cam evidence will directly contradict the police officer’s written descriptions of the Defendant’s driving behavior. In addition, the evidence can provide you with a basis to challenge the police officer’s description of the accused’s appearance and their performance on field sobriety tests.
How DUI Juries React to Missing Evidence
A judge or jury will view the unexplained loss or destruction of body cam and dash cam evidence with suspicion. Furthermore, the law permits a judge or jury to conclude that the missing evidence would have been favorable to the accused.
I have participated in many trials where the police did not produce evidence in their possession. In most cases, the jury acquitted my clients of all charges if the police lost, misplaced, or destroyed evidence.
DUI Attorney Near Me Free Consultation
Have the police charged you with DUI involving any of the circumstances described in this blog post? If so, I may be able to get the police or prosecuting attorney to drop or reduce the charges.
I defend drivers in Philadelphia County, Bucks County, Montgomery County, Delaware County, Chester County, Northampton County, and the nearby Pennsylvania Counties.