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Jury Hands Down Not Guilty Verdict on Second Offense DUI Charge

A Fulton County jury finds defendant not guilty on charge of driving under the influence of alcohol (second offense). The defendant was represented by Harrisburg criminal and DUI attorney David Hoover.

PRLog - Nov. 19, 2012 - HARRISBURG, Pa. -- McConnellsburg, Pennsylvania – In October of 2012, a Fulton County jury conducted a trial for a second offense DUI with a chemical test refusal; the jury found the defendant not guilty on the second offense DUI charge. The defendant was represented by Harrisburg criminal defense attorney David Hoover.

Attorney Hoover’s client was originally stopped by a Wildlife Conservation Officer after he observed the driver taking a wide turn, narrowly missing a parked car by 6 inches. The driver then stopped in the middle of the road at a Y intersection where there wasn’t a stop sign or a traffic signal.

The driver eventually went to the right and the WCO continued to follow the vehicle as he observed the vehicle crossing the yellow line in the center of the road. From there, the vehicle crossed the fog line on the right side of the road and drifted back over to the yellow line in the middle. A vehicle travelling in the opposite direction was forced to take an evasive action in order to avoid colliding with the suspect’s vehicle.

The WCO immediately activated his lights and the suspected drunk driver pulled over. The WCO approached the vehicle and immediately detected the smell of alcohol coming from the vehicle. WCO asked to see the driver’s license and the suspect handed it over.

The WCO called for a Pennsylvania State Police Trooper (PSA), who arrived shortly thereafter. The PSP asked Hoover’s client the standard “interview” type questions and the driver openly told him that he had two drinks earlier that evening. The trooper spotted a bottle of Hawaiian punch, which according to the driver contained a mixture.

Asking to see the bottle, the trooper removed the cap to smell the contents. One key point that aided the defense and most likely impinged upon the jury is that after smelling the contents, the trooper said, “I smell something in there, but I’m not sure it’s alcohol,” which was clearly caught on video.

Unfortunately for the prosecution’s case, in the trooper’s report and in his testimony before the court, he stated that he could smell the strong odor of alcohol as soon as he opened the bottle. Also working to the prosecution’s disadvantage, the trooper failed to seize the bottle and its contents so that it could be tested and used as evidence against the defendant.

The trooper then asked the driver to step outside of the vehicle and perform a series of Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFST). The driver obliged yet soon after the trooper was explaining the first SFST, the driver complained they were standing on a hill.

The trooper then moved the defendant to a driveway beside the road, which was “less of an incline,” according to the trooper.  Although an assisting trouper was asked to move the camera in the first trooper’s vehicle so the SFSTs could be captured, it never happened.

Hoover’s client continued to complain that the driveway still wasn’t level as he attempted to perform the field sobriety tests. In fact, while performing the final test the defendant stopped and continued to complain about the incline, even going so far as asking for a breath test.

The assistant trooper then asked the driver if he was done performing the last FST, and when the driver answered yes, he was promptly arrested. After being cuffed the driver was offered the portable breath test, which he declined. While being searched the driver continued complaining about the hill and the assisting officer said, “Yes, we’re on a hill, but this is the best we have, we work with what we’ve got.” The driver was then transported to Fulton County Medical Center where he refused to submit to a blood test.

In Hoover’s closing argument, he used the trooper’s line, “working with what we’ve got”, stating that it was okay while making an arrest, but that the trooper needs more probable cause before arresting someone. Hoover also stated that the jury needs proof beyond a reasonable doubt to convict someone.

Attorney Hoover pointed out that those are two very different burdens of proof and the jury cannot simply work with what they’ve got, they need proof. After an hour of deliberation the jury returned a not guilty verdict on the DUI charge.

David Hoover practices DUI and criminal defense in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Attorney Hoover frequently attends rigorous DUI training all throughout the country to ensure the best possible defense representation. He is certified in Forensic Sobriety Assessment, he received Alco-Sensor FST Operator and Instructor certification, he is certified in Forensic Sobriety Assessment, and he has completed other specialized training in the field of DUI. As a DUI defense attorney that has attended over 100 hours of specialized training, he is more than qualified to handle DUI cases in Pennsylvania. In addition to DUI, attorney Hoover also handles assaults, drug offenses, federal crimes, theft crimes and everything in between. To contact attorney Hoover to schedule a consultation, please call (888) 498-1265 or visit the firm’s website online at http://www.criminaldefenselawyerharrisburg.com.

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Source:The Law Office of David Hoover
City/Town:Harrisburg - Pennsylvania - United States
Tags:Harrisburg Criminal Defense, dui attorney, Second Offense DUI
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