In a story recently reported by Philadelphia.cbslocal.com, a 22-year-old western Pennsylvania man allegedly tried to blame his drunk driving on his grandmother. The only problem with the man’s story was that his grandmother wasn’t with him at the time of the incident, or even anywhere in the vicinity. As your Pennsylvania DUI attorney can tell you, this is not the best way to raise a defense in your DUI case.
When John Ventresca Jr., of Center Township, tried to pull into the parking lot of a local convenience store, witnesses saw him strike other cars and a pole in the front of the store. Rochester police were called to the scene, where they suspected Ventresca of drunk driving. Ventresca, however, had a completely plausible explanation for his actions. He reportedly told police that his grandmother had actually been driving the vehicle, and that she was currently inside the convenience store using the restroom. He explained his grandmother’s driving mishaps by stating that she currently had a broken shoulder and was taking pain medicine.
Unfortunately for Mr. Ventresca, police soon discovered that not only was his grandmother not in the restroom of the convenience store, but she also was nowhere near the convenience store, and hadn’t been all night. As a result, Ventresca is now facing DUI and a host of other charges related to his alleged impaired driving escapades.
The moral of this story is that while it is extremely important to raise all possible defenses when you are charged with DUI and any related offenses, it is equally important to avoid raising defenses that are, well, blatantly false, particularly when it is fairly easy for the police to see that they are likely false. Lying to the police doesn’t tend to help your case, casts you in a bad light, and may even subject to claims of false reporting. As a practical matter, you also may anger your grandmother, particularly given the media coverage of this incident, which, depending on your situation, may impact your ability to post bond or otherwise support yourself.
There are a variety of other defenses that might be raised in a case like this that have a higher rate of success than blaming one’s actions on grandma. In this case, witnesses apparently reported seeing Ventresca driving erratically and hitting other vehicles. Witnesses may not have correctly identified the chain of events that occurred, the timeline of events, or the nature of Ventresca’s driving. Likewise, Ventresca’s behavior might be attributable to a condition other than alcohol consumption, such as medication, illness, a medical condition, poor eyesight, or simply bad driving judgment. All of these potential defenses may be more effective than blaming one’s actions on a relative who is not even around to take the blame.
In any case, Ventresca’s first move when encountering the Rochester police should have been to contact a DWI lawyer PA before making any statements, confessions, or explanations for his behavior. In doing so, you can ensure that your rights are fully protected and that you preserve any defenses that you might have from the outset of your case, thus minimizing the potential consequences to you of DUI charges and a subsequent conviction.