Pennsylvania law authorizes traffic enforcement officials to stop motorists who violate the state’s rules of the road. An officer’s justification for a traffic stop could include speeding, following too close or swerving across lanes.
If a motorist shows signs of what might indicate impairment, an officer may begin to ask questions to determine if alcohol is the cause. As noted by The Daily Voice, confusion, disorientation or empty liquor bottles may raise an officer’s suspicions.
Field sobriety tests and evidence collection
After pulling over a vehicle, an officer may ask a driver to perform a field sobriety test. A failure to comply could result in a license suspension. The field test may include standing on one leg or walking and turning. Depending on how the driver performs, an officer may request a breath test.
The breath test may provide evidence of a driver’s unlawful blood alcohol content. The portable testing device, however, may not provide an accurate result. As noted by Nature World News, certain foods or health issues may cause a portable test device to show an elevated BAC reading.
Penalties and protocols for a DUI conviction
Individuals convicted of DUI may face a court-ordered requirement to attend a treatment program, as described by the Pennsylvania Government DMV website. A judge may also order an ignition interlock device that requires a motorist to provide a breath test before starting his or her car. In many cases, drivers may find themselves facing license suspension, stiff fines or jail time.
To secure a conviction, a prosecutor must show that the arresting officer followed all of the steps required to prove the alleged impairment. If law enforcement breached any of the protocols or did not conduct them properly, the prosecutor may not have a particularly good chance of obtaining a conviction.