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Pennsylvania Officials Case May Turn On Reliability Of Evidence

Our readers who are familiar with Philadelphia DUI field tests probably know that there are a number of different techniques used during this process, including a breath test for determining a person’s blood alcohol content, commonly known as a breathalyzer test. Although by no means the only technique used during field sobriety tests in Philadelphia, it almost seems like nowadays courts rely on the results of these breathalyzer tests more and more as time passes. For one Pennsylvania resident, the result of her DUI arrest – and subsequent conviction – may hinge on the reliability and accuracy of the breath test administered in her case.

The arrestee in this case was State Representative Cherelle L. Parker. Parker’s case dates back to 2011, when police officers allegedly observed her driving the wrong way down a street. Near the time of the arrest, a breathalyzer test was apparently administered, which indicated a B.A.C. of .16. The legal limit for a B.A.C. level in Pennsylvania is .08.

The trial phase of Parker’s case recently culminated in a court trial, which is a trial with only a judge – no jury. According to the reports, the trial involved no witnesses, and the judge found Parker guilty. However, her subsequent sentence was stayed because she intends to appeal the verdict.

From the initial reports, it appears that the appeal process in this case may center on the breath test that officers administered at the time of Parker’s arrest. Reports point to a recent ruling from another court which noted the occasional lack of reliability in these types of tests. The appeal apparently will also include arguments surrounding the initial reason for the officer’s traffic stop in the case.

Challenging the evidence used in a DUI arrest is a strong criminal defense strategy. If evidence is collected incorrectly, or field sobriety tests conducted outside the bounds of normal procedure, a case could end up being dismissed or the charges reduced.

Source: The Philadelphia Sunday, “Rep. Parker found guilty of DUI,” Hudson, Jan. 20, 2013