DUI Defense Attorney
DUI Defense Attorney Services
Over the course of my career, I investigated, prosecuted or defended over 1000 DUI matters. For many clients, an arrest for driving under the influence is one of the worst moments of their life and their first encounter with law enforcement. When you are driving down the road and the blue lights flash behind you, it feels like time can stop. Everything is a blur and before you know it, two officers have you in front of a police car with blinding white lights shining in your face, asking that you complete a variety of complex physical and mental examinations. Then you are asked whether you will consent to a blood draw or breath sample. The pressure is immense.
If a person is facing a DUI and it is their first criminal offense, they are most likely qualified for a program called Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD). No matter the case, a defendant’s ability to control the outcome is extraordinarily important. You cannot put a price on it. ARD gives the client that opportunity. With nearly every first offense DUI, an individual can apply for the ARD program in each county and if they successfully complete the program, the criminal charges will be dismissed, and the person will be immediately eligible to have their record expunged. It is a wonderful opportunity and if you qualify I will help you every step along the way, to ensure that nothing is missed and that you complete the program successfully.
Montgomery County, Lancaster County, Chester County, Delaware County, Philadelphia County, Bucks County and Berks County each has its own procedures and requirements for application and entry into the ARD program. As counsel, I will take you through every step along the way.
DUI Defense Attorney Services
Sometimes, your DUI case will not be eligible for the ARD program. If that is the case, we immediately shift into an adversarial and strategic approach. A DUI can be attacked from a variety of angles…depending on our analysis of the evidence gathered by the police and the elements of this crime. Did the officer observe impaired driving, or did something else occur? For example, under certain circumstances a person can be charged with a DUI for simply sitting in their vehicle and being in control of it. A person does not need to be driving to be charged with a DUI. If an officer is dispatched to a suspicious person sitting in their car at a Wawa and the keys are in the ignition, that person can be charged with a DUI if the officer observes the necessary evidence of impairment for an arrest.
The more traditional fact pattern involves the officer who is positioned on a roadway, observing traffic, or the officer who is driving down the roadway and observes a vehicle drifting within their lane, crossing lanes, or generally exhibiting signs of impairment. At that point, if the officer develops reasonable suspicion that a DUI is occurring, they can pull you over. Most departments have dashcam and body cameras. That video footage can provide damaging evidence of guilt; however, it can also be invaluable to a defense analysis of a DUI charge, including whether grounds existed for an arrest.
One of the most potent challenges to any DUI charge is a successful suppression motion. An officer needs to have reasonable suspicion to pull a vehicle over. Reasonable suspicion is a legal standard, like “probable cause” to arrest or “beyond a reasonable doubt” to convict someone of a crime.
Reasonable suspicion is the minimum amount of evidence needed for an officer to pull a vehicle over and initiate a DUI investigation. If the officer lacks reasonable suspicion, a suppression motion can be filed. If the judge agrees that the officer lacked reasonable suspicion to pull the vehicle over, all of the evidence the officer obtained as a result of the traffic stop is “suppressed” and inadmissible and the DUI will generally be dismissed.
Assuming there are no promising grounds for challenging the traffic stop, the next plan of attack may be to challenge the basis for the DUI arrest. The question is: did the police have probable cause to arrest the operator? This analysis involves review of the officer’s observations, field sobriety testing, dash cam and body cam video, blood alcohol levels if available, and the behavior and statements of the client during the investigation.