Have You Been Charged with a DUI?

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Court considers compliance with Pennsylvania’s implied consent law

On behalf of Pat Lauer at Law Offices of Patrick F. Lauer, Jr. LLC

When a person is suspected of DUI in Pennsylvania, there are several procedures that police will have to follow at each step of the process. The officers have to have a valid reason to perform a traffic stop, and must observe additional factors that will allow the investigation to continue.

At some point, the officers may request that the motorist submit to a blood or breath test to determine if the individual is driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Under Pennsylvania’s implied consent laws, motorists are required to submit samples in these tests, or they may face the immediate suspension of their driving privileges. A recent court case examined some of the issues that can arise during these tests, and the potential impact that this could have on individuals charged with DUI.

In this particular case, a driver was spotted at an accident scene by police. When the officer questioned the motorist, she stated that she had two drinks that evening. The officer administered a portable breath test, which showed the motorist’s blood-alcohol content to be at 0.18 percent, well above the legal limit of 0.08 percent.

The motorist was taken to a nearby sheriff’s office, and asked to submit to chemical testing, and the woman agreed. The first test required the motorist to breath into a tube for a short period of time. After a few seconds, the woman stopped submitting a sample, and the test had to be invalidated. The second test required the woman to breath into a straw, and the officer believed that the motorist was breathing off to the side, meaning that she was trying to manipulate the test results. No additional tests were given.

The motorist in this case argued that she was not given sufficient opportunity to comply with the officers’ requests. The court concluded that since the motorist was not acting in good faith when taking the tests, she had ample chances to comply. The court denied her requests to overturn the suspension of her driver’s license.

If you have been arrested for driving under the influence in Pennsylvania, it is very important that you have a clear understanding of your rights at this crucial time. You should discuss your case with an experienced criminal defense attorney before you make any statements to law enforcement officers.

Your attorney will be able to answer your questions, and advise you on the steps that you can take to protect yourself against these accusations. If you try to go through this process on your own, you may make major mistakes that could result in your eventual conviction. Since the penalties for repeat DUI convictions increase substantially, you need to be sure that you aggressively contest any charges that you may be facing.