Every parent sends their children off to college expecting them to obtain the education necessary to earn a job in the desired field in the future. Some expect their children to experiment with drugs, alcohol or some other questionable substance or behavior. Few, if any, expect their children to engage in an activity that could jeopardize their very position at the college or university, such as driving under the influence. Yet, DUIs among college students in Pennsylvania are not uncommon. If your child faces DUI charges and the consequences associated with a conviction, it would be in his or her best interest to work with an attorney who can help you build a strong defense.
According to FindLaw, there are a few defenses to drunk driving charges that actually work. The most common argument in a DUI case is improper stop. This defense merely involves showing that the arresting officer did not have probable cause to stop your student. Examples of probable cause include swerving, running red lights or stop signs, missing brake light and erratic driving behavior, to name a few.
It is also not uncommon for defense attorneys to challenge the accuracy of field sobriety or breathalyzer test results or administration. Was the breathalyzer calibrated correctly? Did the arresting officer follow proper protocol when conducting the field sobriety test? The answers to these questions (or lack thereof) can change the outcome to any DUI case.
In addition to challenging the results and/or administration of breath and field sobriety tests, the defense may challenge the administration of a blood test and/or how the chain of custody handled it. If your child’s lawyer can create the impression that the chain of custody somehow tampered with or mishandled the blood test results, the court may have no choice but to drop the case.
Your child’s particular case may be one in which an affirmative defense applies. Affirmative defenses include necessity (your child had to drive under the influence to avoid “greater evil”); entrapment (an officer somehow encouraged your child to become intoxicated and then drive); duress (your child committed a DUI to avoid serious injury or death); involuntary intoxication (your child unwittingly ingested alcohol or drugs); and mistake of fact (your child honestly believed he or she was not intoxicated). The last defense may only work if your student takes a prescription medication, the side effects of which he or she was unaware.
This article is strictly for your educational purposes. You should not use its contents as legal advice.