In a recent article, we discussed 12 facts that can determine the outcome of a DUI case (or other criminal cases) in Pennsylvania. We talked about how even the smallest details can matter, and we emphasized the importance of discussing all of the details with your defense attorney.
But, while some facts matter, others don’t. In fact, if you present the wrong facts, this can increase your chances of getting convicted. When facing a DUI charge, it is essential to know which facts will protect you and which ones won’t. With this in mind, here are 12 facts that will not protect you from a DUI conviction in Pennsylvania:
1. Your Designated Driver Left Without You
You made arrangements with a friend to get a safe ride home. But, when it was time to go, you realized that your designated driver had already left. While this is unfortunate, it is not a defense against driving under the influence. In Pennsylvania, DUI is a “strict liability” offense, which means that you can be found guilty even if you tried to do the right thing. If your designated driver leaves without you, you need to find another ride home.
2. Your Uber or Lyft Driver Never Showed Up
The same is true if you order an Uber or Lyft ride and your driver never shows up. Let’s say you drove yourself to the bar; and, after realizing that you’d had one drink too many, you pulled up the Uber or Lyft app on your phone. Simply trying to get a safe ride home isn’t enough. If you still ultimately make the decision to drink and drive, you can still be found guilty of DUI.
3. You Waited Hours Before Driving
As a general rule, it takes about one hour for the average human body to process one standard alcoholic drink. But, when it comes to getting behind the wheel, the law does not allow you to take chances. Even if you thought you waited long enough, if it turned out that you were still too drunk to drive, prosecutors will still be able to secure a DUI conviction.
4. You Didn’t Realize You Were Too Drunk to Drive
What if you simply didn’t realize you were too drunk to drive? Just like the facts discussed above, this is not an excuse. One of the effects of alcohol is that it impairs your judgment, so the judge is simply going to say that you shouldn’t have put yourself in a position where you had the opportunity to drink and drive.
5. You Had Something Come Up Unexpectedly
Let’s say you weren’t planning to drive, but something came up unexpectedly and you had to get home right away. Or, maybe you got called into work or found out a loved one was in the hospital. Does this justify your decision to get behind the wheel?
In a word, “No.” While there is a “necessity” defense that applies in certain limited circumstances, simply having something come up is not an excuse for getting behind the wheel after having too much to drink.
6. You Were Driving Safely
What if you were still capable of driving safely even though your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was over the legal limit? This also is not a defense to DUI. Under Pennsylvania’s DUI statute, you can be convicted of driving under the influence if either (i) you are “incapable of safely driving,” or (ii) your BAC is 0.08% or above.
7. Your BAC Wasn’t Over the Legal Limit
On the same token, it is possible to face a DUI conviction even if your BAC wasn’t over the legal limit. If the police determined that you were “incapable of safely driving”—and if prosecutors can prove it—then your BAC doesn’t matter.
8. You Only Had One Drink
Different people’s bodies process alcohol differently. While some people may be able to consume several drinks before feeling the effects, one drink can be enough to cause impairment for some individuals. So, even if you only had one drink, this fact alone will not save you from a DUI conviction.
9. You Were Barely Buzzed
Pennsylvania law makes clear that buzzed driving is drunk driving. If your body was feeling the effects of your alcohol consumption (whether you realized it or not), admitting that you were buzzed will almost certainly lead to a conviction.
10. You Weren’t Driving When the Police Approached Your Vehicle
While most people get pulled over for drunk driving, the police approached your vehicle while you were in a parking lot or stopped on the side of the road. You weren’t driving, so how can you be found guilty of DUI?
The answer is simple: Pennsylvania’s DUI lawyer covers more than just driving. The law also makes it illegal to “operate or be in actual physical control of the movement of a vehicle” after having too much to drink. This means that the police can arrest you for DUI if you are in a position to drive (i.e., in the driver’s seat with the key) even if your wheels haven’t turned.
11. The Police Stopped You for Something Else.
If the police stop you for any valid reason, they can test you for alcohol impairment if they have reason to believe you may be intoxicated. So, even if you got pulled over for speeding, running a stop sign, or driving with a broken taillight, the police were still operating within the confines of the law in testing your BAC and arresting you for DUI.
12. The Police Didn’t Read Your Rights
The police only need to read your Miranda rights if they intend to conduct a custodial interrogation. So, while failure to read your rights can serve as a defense in some cases, the fact that the police didn’t Mirandize you on the side of the road doesn’t necessarily mean the government’s evidence is inadmissible in court.
Request a Free and Confidential Consultation with a Philadelphia DUI Lawyer
If you are facing a DUI charge in Pennsylvania, you need to make sure you are making informed decisions about your defense. To discuss your case with Philadelphia DUI lawyer Brian Fishman in confidence, call 267-758-2228 or request a free consultation online today.