Any Philadelphia DUI attorney would probably be able to tell our readers that most DUI arrests are misdemeanors. A typical DUI arrest will occur after a police officer notices a minor traffic violation, such as swerving into another lane or failing to use a turn signal. A traffic stop is then initiated, at which time the officer notices the smell of alcohol on the suspect. The officer will ask the suspect to take field sobriety tests and submit to a breathalyzer, and if the weight of the combined evidence leads the officer to believe that the driver is intoxicated an arrest will occur. Many DUI arrests are for first time offenses, and for many people one DUI arrest is enough for a lifetime of deterrence toward ever taking the chance of repeating the behavior.
Felony drunk driving charges do exist, however, and they usually come about from complicating factors involved in the situation. When a news headline comes out, like a recent one about a passenger being ejected and killed in a suspected DUI accident, Philadelphia felony DUI lawyers know that planning a criminal defense strategy can become very complicated indeed.
According to the reports, this sad situation occurred on March 23 in the late evening hours in nearby East Greenwich Township, New Jersey. It appears that the driver of a SUV had three passengers in the vehicle when he reportedly lost control of the vehicle, which then proceeded to flip several times. One of the passengers was ejected from the SUV during the accident, and he was later pronounced dead after being transported for medical care via helicopter. The reports indicate that the driver and the two other passengers did not sustain serious injury. However, the driver was arrested on several criminal charges, including DUI.
This was surely a heartbreaking accident for all of the individuals involved. But, with a death occurring under allegations of driving under the influence of alcohol, the driver will now be facing some very serious charges. He will need to consider all available options for his defense strategy, from taking the case to trial to entering into plea negotiations.
Source: NBC10 Philadelphia, “Man Ejected, Killed in DUI Crash: Police,” David Chang, March 25, 2013