A DUI conviction can have a profound impact on your life. Not only can you face probation, fines, mandatory treatment, and other court-imposed penalties, but you can also face consequences in your everyday life. For example, having a DUI on your record can make it much more difficult to find a well-paying job—or, if you already have a well-paying job, a conviction could put your job at risk. From education to immigration status, DUI convictions can have various other consequences as well; and, in many cases, these consequences can have ripple effects for years (if not decades) to come.

This makes it extremely important to fight your DUI by all means available.

The good news is that there are several potential defenses to DUI charges under Pennsylvania law. Of course, there are no guarantees, and many prosecutors take pride in their high conviction rates. But, by focusing on the defenses that you have available based on the facts of your case, you can give yourself the best possible chance of avoiding unnecessary life-altering consequences.

What Are Your Options for Fighting a Pennsylvania DUI?

How can you protect yourself after a drunk driving arrest? Here are seven examples of potential defenses to DUI charges in Pennsylvania:

1. Your Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) Wasn’t Over the Legal Limit When You Were Driving

If you are being charged with DUI based on your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) being over the legal limit, you may be able to fight your DUI charge by arguing that it wasn’t over the legal limit when you were driving. When you consume alcohol, your BAC doesn’t go up right away. As a result, if it took some time for your arresting officer to administer the breathalyzer, it’s possible that your BAC reading does not reflect your BAC when you were behind the wheel.

2. Your BAC Reading is Unreliable

You may also be able to fight your DUI charge by calling the reliability of your BAC reading into question. Several issues can raise reliability concerns with a defendant’s BAC reading during a DUI case, including:

  • Improper calibration of the breathalyzer device
  • Failure to provide adequate instructions for taking the breath test
  • Improper administration of the breath test
  • Medical conditions that can cause a high BAC
  • Other confounding factors that can result in a “false positive” on the breathalyzer

If any of these issues are relevant to your case (or even may be relevant to your case), this could be enough to prevent a finding of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

3. You Weren’t “Rendered Incapable of Safely Driving”

If prosecutors cannot rely on your BAC, they will need to try to establish your guilt by showing that you were “rendered incapable of safely driving.” Even if you were drinking before you got pulled over (and even if you admitted this on the side of the road), this doesn’t necessarily mean that you were too drunk to drive.

4. You Weren’t Driving, Operating, or “In Actual Physical Control” of a Vehicle

To be guilty of DUI in Pennsylvania, not only must you have an illegal BAC or be rendered incapable of safely driving, but you must also be driving, operating, or “in actual physical control of the movement of” a vehicle. While this won’t be in question in some cases, if your vehicle was stopped when the arresting officer decided to approach you, you may be able to use this in your defense.

5. The Police Stopped You Without Reasonable Suspicion, Arrested You Without Probable Cause, or Failed to Read Your Miranda Rights

To conduct a lawful traffic stop, the police generally need to have “reasonable suspicion” that a crime has been committed (although there are exceptions, including exceptions that authorize random stops at DUI checkpoints). To make an arrest, they need probable cause. To interrogate a suspect in custody, they must first read the suspect’s Miranda rights. If the police violated any of your rights, an experienced DUI lawyer may be able to use this to keep the government’s evidence out of court.

6. Prosecutors Don’t Have the Evidence They Need to Meet Their Burden of Proof

No matter what happened before, during, and after your arrest, it is up to the prosecution to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. If prosecutors can’t meet their burden of proof, then you are entitled to a “not guilty” verdict regardless of whether you were drunk behind the wheel. This fact alone is reason enough to fight your DUI charge—and this fact alone makes it well worth hiring an experienced DUI lawyer to represent you.

7. You Qualify for Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD)

Is this your first DUI arrest? If so, you may qualify for Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD). In Pennsylvania, ARD is a program that allows eligible first-time offenders to avoid a DUI conviction without going to trial. If you don’t have any other defenses that you can use to fight your DUI charge in court, then entering into the ARD program could be your best (and only) option for avoiding life-altering consequences.

Again, we want to emphasize that these are potential defenses. Depending on the facts of your case, each of these defenses may or may not be available to you. Additionally, even if you can assert one or more of these defenses, this still might not be enough to avoid a conviction (i.e., if you can dispute your BAC reading but prosecutors have other evidence of impairment). Successfully fighting a DUI charge in Pennsylvania requires a comprehensive and strategic approach; and, to ensure that you are doing everything necessary to protect yourself, you should speak with an experienced DUI lawyer as soon as possible.

Schedule a Free Consultation About Your DUI Case in Stroudsburg, PA

If you have been arrested for driving under the influence in Pennsylvania, Stroudsburg DUI lawyer Brian C. Jordan can use his experience to protect you by all means available. To discuss your case with Mr. Jordan in confidence, call 570-764-4114 or request a free consultation online today.

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