Whether Pennsylvania residents realize it or not, driving is an essential part of their daily lives. Without a driver’s license, it is more difficult to get to work, get groceries, pick up children from school and even get a bite to eat from the corner restaurant. Someone convicted of drunk driving could end up losing driving privileges and be unable to complete these tasks, disrupting not only their own lives but also the lives of their family members.
Many people facing DUI charges may not be aware that it is possible to present a DUI defense to avoid the consequences of a conviction. While it is difficult to give an affirmative defense for a drunk driving charge, it is possible to attack a police officer’s observations that led up to the arrest.
One affirmative defense that is not commonly used is that of necessity, which is that the driver had no other option but to drive to avoid a greater evil. Another affirmative defense is that there was a mistake of fact, which is that the driver was honestly not aware that they were intoxicated. Additionally, there is the defense of involuntary intoxication, which is that the driver ingested alcohol without their knowledge.
More common is the defense that pleads there was an improper stop, which means that the officer lacked probable cause to make the traffic stop in the first place. It is also possible to attack the integrity of the breathalyzer test or the administration of it.
Everyone has the right to defend themselves against criminal charges. Someone facing DUI charges should know that they have options available, but it is important to act quickly to avoid the negative repercussions of a conviction.