Things Nobody Ever Told You About DUI Accidents In Pennsylvania: Explained By Lawyers

Most people tend to assume that they know everything about DUI accidents. But when you are arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs in Pennsylvania, things can get quite confusing.

That is because there are certain things nobody ever talks about. And today, our experienced Philadelphia DUI accident lawyer at the Dan Doyle Law Group is going to explain the things you did not know about Pennsylvania law, and more specifically, how the state’s laws deal with DUI accidents.

What needs to be proven in a DUI accident

If you have been injured in a DUI accident in Philadelphia or elsewhere in Pennsylvania, you are not required to prove that the driver actually consumed alcohol prior to the accident. All you and your experienced DUI accident attorney in Philadelphia or elsewhere in Pennsylvania will need to establish is that the driver was incapable of safe driving due to impairment either from the consumption of alcohol or drugs.

What qualifies as evidence of the driver’s impairment?

The results of the field sobriety test is not the only type of evidence that can be used in order to establish liability and hold the at-fault party responsible for driving under the influence.

Our best DUI accident lawyers in Pennsylvania explain that the following types of direct and circumstantial evidence of impairment are used to determine that the driver was incapable of safe driving at the time of the accident:

  • The person’s erratic actions and behavior, slurred speech, loud speaking, jerky movements, glazed eyes, smell of alcohol, etc
  • The manner of driving before the DUI accident or arrest
  • The ability to pass a field sobriety test
  • The person’s demeanor and other physical signs of impairment

General impairment vs. DUI accident

If a DUI accident involved personal injury and property damage, the at-fault driver will face a DUI offence that comes with a mandatory minimum license suspension of 12 months and at least 48 hours in jail. For a general impairment DUI, when the impaired driver is stopped by the police in a non-accident incident, the driver will not have his driver’s license suspended and will not face any jail time.

Proving impairment at the time of the DUI accident

Bizarrely, just because there is evidence that the driver was intoxicated when police arrived and requested him or her to pass a field sobriety test or observed the driver’s actions and behavior, it does not necessarily mean that the driver was impaired at the time of the accident.

“Therefore, in order to hold the driver liable for DUI, the prosecution will have to establish a temporal connection between the accident and the person’s impairment,” explains our Philadelphia DUI accident attorney. This becomes nearly impossible if the police did not see the accident with their own eyes and there are no witnesses to testify. Speaking of eyewitnesses…

The importance of eyewitnesses in DUI accidents

More often than not, the prosecution in Philadelphia and elsewhere in Pennsylvania will not be able to render a driver incapable of safe driving and establish that he or she had a blood alcohol consumption level of over .08 within 2 hours of driving if there are no eyewitnesses and/or police did not observe the accident.

In fact, under Pennsylvania law, a person cannot be considered incapable of safe driving even if he or she admits to police that he/she had consumed alcohol earlier that day. In addition to that, demonstrating physical signs of impairment and even failing the field sobriety test will be insufficient evidence if the prosecution cannot prove the driver’s impairment at the time of the accident. Even though the police have collected all these types of evidence, it will still have to relate back the driver’s apparent impairment at the time when he or she interacted with police to the time the person was driving.

As you can see, Pennsylvania’s law is quite confusing when it comes to DUI accidents. Do not attempt to file a personal injury lawsuit after a DUI accident on your own. You need a skilled attorney by your side to succeed. Contact the Dan Doyle Law Group to get a free consultation. Call at 215-987-3730 or complete this contact form.