Summer is in full swing and many people in Philadelphia want to get outside and enjoy various outdoor events. Many of these events involve drinking alcohol, even if it is just going to a friend's house to grill and enjoy the warm weather. Most enjoy alcohol responsibly, but it is not difficult to cross the line and have just one too many alcoholic beverages. Driving afterward may result in DUI charges, which if convicted, can carry some serious consequences.
The police in one community just outside Philadelphia set up a sobriety checkpoint recently to look for drivers who were under the influence of alcohol. Approximately 2,500 people were stopped at the checkpoint. Twenty-five people were asked to perform field sobriety tests and 13 drivers failed those tests and were charged with DUI. The police also issued many other drivers for other traffic violations such as children not being in seatbelts and driving with a suspended license.
If the 13 people charged with DUI are eventually convicted, they will face serious consequences. Even those who have never received a DUI and are just above a .08 BAC will have to pay fines and may lose their driver's license for a period of time. The penalties only increase for those with higher BAC levels or those with multiple DUI convictions.
However, any driver who is charged with a DUI may have legal defenses, depending on the facts of their case. The stop itself can be challenged and if the stop was illegal then the rest of the evidence may be suppressed and a conviction is very unlikely. The police also have to perform the field sobriety and Breathalyzer tests correctly. If they do not, the test results may be suppressed and again a conviction is unlikely.
Many people in Philadelphia are charged with DUI every year. While the consequences are harsh, there may be defenses to the charges. It is important to understand these legal defenses to ensure one is not wrongly convicted.
Source: Delaware County News Network, "13 charged with DUI at checkpoint in Upper Darby" Linda Reilly, June 9, 2014