Unquestionably, law enforcement agencies in Pennsylvania and nationally have a plethora of resources — coupled with obviously impressive state police powers — at their disposal when they’re literally on the prowl for drivers they might reasonably be able to pull over for allegedly driving under the influence of alcohol.
The key word in that above sentence is “reasonably,” with various limitations being imposed on police conduct during roadside stops, and for good reason.
All Americans have a fundamental and important expectation regarding reasonableness when they suddenly find themselves interacting with police officers in a criminal matter that they neither initiated nor welcome.
In such instances, it is that objectivity and fairness prevail during police stops. Questions must be asked and adequately answered regarding the propriety of a stop and the degree to which subjectivity might have overplayed its hand in sobriety tests and an officer’s perceptions.
And then there is this, as was notable in a recent media report on what can only be called a scandal that has surfaced in another state: the threshold question of whether breath-testing devices are accurate should never be an issue in any police-citizen encounter where drunk driving is alleged and potentially dire repercussions can ensue.
What is a front-page story is the news that many of the testing machines used by police officers were validated as accurate by forged signatures, with the fraud being ongoing for several years.
In other words, the devices were sworn to be accurate in court, with the “evidence” being used to convict alleged drunk drivers, without the lab techs/overseers trained to evaluate the machines ever having done so.
Such an outcome must strike virtually any American as troublesome and even intolerable. Where individuals are targeted for alleged criminal conduct and potentially subject to severe penalties, there can be no hint of fraud on the part of a justice system that already has overwhelming might and resources.
A proven criminal defense attorney will always examine every element of a criminal case against a client in a DUI-related matter or any other alleged misconduct.
The state must prove its case, and do so fairly. When it doesn’t, an experienced legal advocate will spotlight shortcomings and demand justice through the crafting of strategies that aggressively promote the best interests of a client at every turn.