There are many car accidents in Philadelphia each year. There are also many factors that cause those accidents. Sometimes the accidents involve drivers who have been suspected of drinking. In these cases, many times the person suspected of driving is charged with a DUI. However, just because there was an accident does not mean that a driver will be convicted of DUI. After being charged, the defendant goes through the criminal justice process and has the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty -- even if the alleged victim is a police officer.
Recently, two different drivers allegedly hit two different police cars, causing injuries to the police officers in the cars. One driver reportedly hit a police car with her van and police claim to have found an open beer bottle in her van. She was arrested on suspicion of drunk driving, but has not been charged. In a separate incident a man allegedly rear ended a police car. Despite suffering injuries, the police officer was able to stop the driver, who was also suspected of drinking and driving. This driver has not been charged either.
The penalties for a DUI conviction can be serious. In many cases, there are mandatory minimum sentences. Whether there will be a mandatory minimum sentence depends on certain factors, one of which is whether an accident occurred. The driver's BAC level also factors into the penalties a defendant may receive. In addition to any jail time, people convicted of DUI could have their driver's licenses suspended for a period of time, pay fines, have to have an ignition interlock installed in their cars and others.
Many people in Philadelphia are in car accidents each year and sometimes a person is charged with driving under the influence as a result of the accident. While the penalties are serious, there are defenses to a drunk driving charge and a person is innocent until proven guilty. The person, despite being charged with a DUI, has rights. Attorneys understand these rights and can help protect them.
Source: NBC 10 Philadelphia, "2 officers hurt in suspected DUI crashes" Lauren DiSanto and Dan Stamm, Nov. 25, 2013