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Challenging a DUI arrest

A DUI charge can have serious penalties in Pennsylvania such as driver license suspension, fines, costs and even imprisonment in some cases. There are several ways to fight a drunk driving charge, however.

There are some general defenses against drunk driving. First, the police officer did not have solid legal grounds for stopping or detaining the driver. Or, in unique circumstances, it is proven that the person who was arrested was not driving the vehicle.

When police videotaped the driver, a person can challenge the arrest if it appears that the motorist was not swerving on the road, breaking the law or did not appear intoxicated. Suspect may have medical conditions where they appear intoxicated even if they did not exceed the BAC level. In some cases, the reliability of blood or breathalyzer tests can be challenged through the testimony of witnesses that the driver was not intoxicated.

Objective evidence that the motorist was not legally intoxicated when arrested may be effective. This includes chemical test results that the driver's BAC did exceed the legal limit between the time of the test administration and the arrest.

To help defend against charges, it is important to write down everything that happened after a motorist was released. This includes the amount and type of alcohol consumed, the time elapsed between drinking stopped and the police made their stop, events and location before entering the vehicle and where the police made their stop.

It is also important to document what the police said and their behavior, the driver's response to their instructions, whether Miranda rights and rights about breathalyzer or blood tests were read, where and when the breathalyzer or blood test were administered and the time between drinking stopped and the chemical test or breathalyzer were administered. This information should be provided only to a defense attorney.

Suspects should safely stop their vehicle, act politely and not engage in suspicious behavior. They should provide limited information about their name, driver's license, vehicle registration and insurance. Drivers do not have to answer questions about the amount or what they were drinking

Finally, do not argue and leave it to the lawyer to dispute facts and make objections later. They can help assure that invalid evidence is challenged and that rights are protected.

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