A recent Bristol Township news report detailed the preliminary hearing of a 46-year-old Bensalem woman who was charged with criminal homicide, homicide by vehicle, homicide by vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, and DUI. The charges stem from a 2011 incident in which the woman drove her 2010 Chevy Camaro into the back of a 2009 Harley Davidson motorcycle, leaving its 30-year-old female rider dead and the male driver of the motorcycle with serious injuries. After reportedly drinking four beers at a VFW post, the woman allegedly was driving her Camaro at 92 mph in a 40 mph speed zone when the collision occurred. Blood and urine testing later revealed that the driver had a blood alcohol content of 0.86 percent at the time of the incident, which is just above the Pennsylvania legal limit for driving of 0.8. Other witnesses testified that the woman had been speeding and driving erratically just minutes before the collision.
The driver was indicted by a Bucks County grand jury last August, and has remained free on bond since that time. At the recent preliminary hearing, the woman’s defense team attempted to have the charges dismissed on the allegation that police officers failed to follow the protocol of administering field sobriety tests prior to ordering that the woman undergo blood and urine tests. As a result, the defense attorney argued, the prosecution had failed to show that his client was under the influence at the time of the accident.
While the Bristol Township District Judge in this case ultimately rejected the defense argument regarding the failure to follow standard procedures by police in this specific case, it could be successful in another DUI case. There is no doubt that irregularities in police protocol can strongly impact DUI charges. Law enforcement officials follow strict procedures for a variety of reasons, including to build a strong case for the prosecution and to safeguard the potential defendant’s legal rights. When these procedures break down or a police officer chooses not to follow those procedures, there very well may be a legitimate defense that can be raised by your Bucks County DUI attorney.
Any DUI charge can have serious consequences, but one that involves additional criminal charges stemming from the death or injury of another person becomes much more serious and complicated. In this situation, having an experienced Bucks County DUI lawyer to assist you is the best way to build a strong defense to the charges against you. This move will allow you to explore all of the potential defenses that may be available to you, and give you a better chance of minimizing the severity of the consequences.