Do not assume that your DUI case is unbeatable. These are complex matters, and a wide range of defense strategies have proven effective in these cases. Attorney John Della Rocca at The Law Offices of John Della Rocca has 20 years of experience using these defense strategies to benefit people like you. While there are many effective defense strategies, here are 10 ways to win a Philadelphia DUI case.
1. The Traffic Stop Was Illegal and Was Not Supported by Probable Cause
A police officer must have reasonable suspicion to pull a driver over. If the police officer cannot explain why he or she reasonably suspected the driver had broken the law, the traffic stop may be declared unconstitutional and the DUI charged may be dismissed.
2. The Arrest Was Illegal and Was Not Supported by Probable Cause
A police officer must have probable cause to arrest someone. If the police officer did not have sufficient evidence to merit probable cause, the arrest may be declared unconstitutional. The drunk driving charge may be dismissed.
3. The Field Sobriety Tests Were Administered Improperly
First, field sobriety tests are voluntary. If a police officer forced a driver to take these tests, the accused individual's Fourth Amendment rights may have been violated and the test results may be thrown out. Furthermore, these tests must be administered properly. If, for example, the tests are conducted on uneven ground, they may be considered invalid.
4. The Breath Test Was Administered Improperly or the Equipment Was Faulty
Like all tools, there is a right way and a wrong way to use a breath test machine. If a police officer uses the machine incorrectly, the results may be thrown out. Additionally, mechanical issues may impact the accuracy of the results. For example, some machines are affected by temperature. If a machine is stored in the trunk on a cold day and not allowed to warm up before being used, the results may not be accurate and should be considered invalid.
5. A Medical Issue or Some Other Factor Interfered with the Breath Test
Many everyday issues can lead to false positives on a breath test. For example, if a person burps after recently consuming alcohol and then takes a breath test, the results may show a higher blood alcohol content (BAC) than normal. If a person is running a fever when he or she takes the test, the results may also be skewed. An experienced lawyer will review the case to determine if any interfering factor was present and seek to have results thrown out.
6. The Blood Test Was Administered Improperly or the Equipment Was Faulty
While blood tests are typically conducted in a more controlled environment than breath tests, errors still happen. Was an alcohol swab used on the draw site? Was the sample handled correctly during the testing process? Any issue that could interfere with the accuracy of the results could lead to the results being considered invalid.
7. A Medical Issue or Some Other Factor Interfered with the Blood Test
An enzymatic method is typically used for determining BAC in blood tests. However, this method may lead to inaccurately high readings that confuse serum alcohol, which may be produced by tissue trauma such as bruises, with ethyl alcohol. If there is reason to believe that such a factor interfered with the blood test, the results should be thrown out.
8. The Accused Was Not Operating a Vehicle
Occasionally, a person will be charged with DUI even though he or she was only caught sitting or sleeping in the vehicle. If the police officer did not personally witness the individual driving while intoxicated, the case may be dismissed. In such cases, the court must determine whether the evidence establishes beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant was either in actual physical control of the vehicle (keys in ignition or engine running) or driving.
9. Jurisdiction and Speedy Trial Issues
The location of the crime dictates which courts will hear the case and which police officers can conduct the arrest. In some cases, if a police officer makes a DUI arrest outside of his or her jurisdiction, it may be used as part of a defense strategy. In Pennsylvania, the prosecution has a limited amount of time to try your case. If the commonwealth fails to prosecute your case during the allotted time frame, it can be dismissed under Rule 600 or Rule 1013 (applicable to Philadelphia Municipal Court cases).
10. Diversion Programs
Many people accused of drunk driving do not know that there may be programs available, particularly for first offenders, that can lead to a positive outcome, even if the evidence is strong. An experienced lawyer will know all available options.
Contact Pennsylvania and New Jersey DUI Defense Attorney John Della Rocca
If you have been accused of DUI, take action to ensure that it does not impact your life. Let John Della Rocca help you secure the results you need to move forward with your life.