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Is It In A Client’s Best Interest To Submit To Chemical Testing?
Absolutely! When it comes to blood tests, there are multiple issues with the testing, so even if a blood test puts you in the highest bracket, there are issues that can be attacked. I had a girl with a 0.249 BAC who was impaired, based on the video, and the 0.249 was a second offense that would have put her in jail for three months to five years. I got the test results and it showed that the sample had sonicated, which means it was compromised.
The district attorney, who was a fair person, knocked the blood alcohol content down to the middle tier, so she ended up doing 30 days to six months instead of three months to five years. She saved four and a half years of supervision and 60 days in jail by taking the test, even though she had a high blood alcohol content and knew she was drunk. That happened because we were able to show the DA that the sample had been compromised sample; without that, as impaired as she was, she would have been found guilty of DUI and for the refusal, but she wasn’t and that’s an example of how it could have gone the other way if she would refuse.
Are there Laws in Pennsylvania that Address Drivers with Blood Alcohol Level of Below .08?
No; the only thing you can be charged with in Pennsylvania, unfortunately, is driving while impaired. The BAC level doesn’t mean anything; if you look impaired or the cop says you look like you’re impaired, technically, you can be convicted. There was a case that became an appellate court case in which a doctor was having heart problems and wrecked, and he registered a 0.05 blood alcohol content. The judge found him guilty and it was upheld on appeal that he was driving while impaired despite the fact that there was doctor testimony about his heart issues.
What Percentage of DUI Cases Do You See Due to Illegal or Prescription Drugs Vs. Alcohol?
They increase every year, because they’re spending more money to train police officers to look for drugs in people’s systems, and they’re specifically asking them, even if they believe there’s alcohol, whether they have taken any drugs whether illegal or prescribed.
Sometimes the drug cases are easier, because there are admissibility issues. There are people out there driving with what are commonly called bath salts in their systems, although they’re really cathinones, and the Pennsylvania Department of Health has yet to set a minimum level of detection for those, like there is a minimum level of detection for any Schedule 1, 2 or 3 drug to be admissible. That means the test results of someone with bath salts in their system will be inadmissible because the law says they’re not admissible yet.
That’s another advantage of taking the test; if someone with bath salts in their system refused, they’ll automatically be placed in the highest punishment bracket, whereas someone who tested for bath salts in their system will see their main charge go away because their result is inadmissible. They would only have the impaired charge and there are ways to defend that; for example, if they went to the hospital and had a blood test, but there was no result, it infers that the test came out okay.
What Are the Most Common Drugs You See in DUI Drug Cases?
The most common are marijuana, prescription pain pills and prescription benzodiazepine, like Xanax. The drugs I see mostly are pain pills and marijuana, along with more and more antidepressants too. It is totally bogus to arrest somebody for that, which is why you need a science background to fight it.
Are There Laws for Drivers Who Have Drugs Like Marijuana in their System but Aren’t Impaired?
Marijuana is still considered a Schedule 1 drug, so if you have either the active delta 9 or the inactive metabolites in your system, you’re automatically guilty if the evidence gets admitted. However, there are issues about the admission of the evidence that can be attacked. You can also be charged with being impaired, especially when you’re also charged with aggravated assault or a homicide while DUI.
There’s a big difference between having it in your system and being impaired, and it’s the impaired charge that gets you the felonies and the long state prison sentence. Drug test results can’t compare person-to-person like you can alcohol. They are totally unscientific, and there are many more variables in them.
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