Trial Awaits for Former Philly Officer Accused of DUI Homicide

judge-gavelA recent Daily News article details the severe consequences that can occur as a result of drinking and driving. Former Philadelphia police sergeant Thomas Winkis recently faced a preliminary hearing on charges of homicide by vehicle while DUI, homicide by vehicle, DUI, involuntary manslaughter, and recklessly endangering another person. These charges stem from a deadly drunk driving accident that occurred in September 2013. Winkis, a 21-year veteran of the Philadelphia Police Department, was fired from his job following the crash.

Just before midnight, Winkis left Maggie’s Waterfront Café in Torresdale, where he had been drinking with a friend. Winkis reportedly was driving his Dodge Challenger at over 101 mph, or more than three times the speed limit, when he struck a Ford Econoline van being driven by 55-year-old David Farries at State Road and Ashburner Street in Holmesburg. Farries, a Fishtown father of four, was ejected from the van and suffered blunt-force injuries. Following the accident, Winkis was treated for a broken wrist, whereas Farries was hospitalized for three days with critical injuries that ultimately proved fatal.

This case clearly illustrates just how devastating the aftermath of a drunk driving accident can be, not only from a legal standpoint, but from a personal standpoint, as well. Not only is Winkis facing serious criminal charges that could land him in prison for many years, but he also has sacrificed his entire career as a police officer. Although Winkis is currently free on bail, he no longer has his job or a means of support. While he can look for another job, it is unlikely that he will be able to find a comparable position at the same rate of pay, even if he is never found guilty of the criminal charges that he is currently facing. And if Winkis is found guilty, he is likely to serve jail time and have a permanent criminal felony record, both of which will adversely impact his ability to obtain gainful employment. This situation may leave Winkis unable to support himself altogether.

While the situation that Winkis is facing may seem hopeless, getting the assistance of a Pennsylvania DUI lawyer in order to mount a strong defense to the charges can be instrumental in avoiding a criminal conviction, or at least minimizing the negative consequences that can arise as a result of a serious criminal conviction. Depending on the unique circumstances present in any DUI case, there are likely to be multiple ways to attack the charges.

For instance, there may be irregularities or inconsistencies in the field sobriety tests or Breathalyzer tests that the police officer administered at the time of arrest. The police may have pulled your vehicle over without having probable cause to do so. Other types of evidence may be insufficient to establish that you were driving while drunk. With the help of a Pennsylvania DUI attorney, you are much more likely to be able to successfully defend yourself against DUI charges.

The Law Offices of Steven E. Kellis is here to provide you with experienced representation in your DUI or DUI-related legal matter. Contact our office today to set up a free consultation.