Legal Updates

Defendant NOT GUILTY – DUI Second Offense

Defendant, S.C. had been fighting his case for over two years.  The stakes were simply too high.  He was charged with DUI – Second Offense, and if convicted faced ninety days in prison, fines, license suspensions, and an ignition interlock on his vehicle.  After several months with the public defender, he contacted the Law Office of Mark D. Copoulos to handle his case.  S.C. and Copoulos sat down and discussed the case.

S.C. was stopped after going through a DUI – checkpoint in Philadelphia.  Philly police officers effectuated the stop.  S.C. was removed from the vehicle and tested for DUI.  The tests involved performing various Field Sobriety Tests (“FSTs”) and observing indicia of intoxication.  S.C. failed the sobriety tests and was then sent to Philadelphia Police Department Headquarters (“The Roundhouse”) for blood alcohol testing.  S.C. tested positive for low levels of alcohol and marijuana (“THC”).  The results were inconclusive as to whether the level of alcohol or marijuana impaired driving abilities.

After reviewing relevant police paperwork, Copoulos discovered the blood alcohol tests were inadmissible.  The testing officer took S.C.’s blood instead of a breathalyzer.  The United States Supreme Court held such blood tests are inadmissible without a warrant.  With the chemical evidence suppressed, Copoulos moved to the indicia of DUI.  S.C. was medically diagnosed with vertigo and related illnesses that affected balance.  S.C. and Copoulos obtained his medical records and prepared for trial.  S.C. and Copoulos prepared his testimony, wherein he testified truthfully that he was suffering from some effects of his medical condition on the day of the stop.

At trial, the reporting officer who stopped S.C. forgot about the stop.  (It had been over two years!)  He could not specifically recall facts relevant to S.C.’s insobriety or behavior on that day.  Further evidence was elicited that S.C. exhibited symptoms of sobriety.  For example he was courteous, able to follow instructions, produced his license, and did not stagger when walking.  S.C. then testified that his medical condition affected his ability to perform FSTs that required balancing.  The chemical evidence was not admitted, but ultimately was entered for impeachment purposes by the Office of the District Attorney.  The DA attempted to call defendants’ credibility into question by countering his assertion he had one drink.  The judge presumably found the impeachment ineffective and the Defendant was found not guilty of all charges.

After two long years S.C. walked out of the courthouse a free man.