Philadelphia, PA criminal defense attorney Brian Fishman talks about a memorable case in which he obtained a verdict of “not guilty” for his client.
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I represent hundreds and hundreds of people charged with driving under the influence, DUI charges in Philadelphia and in the surrounding counties. This is the type of crime that I would refer to sort of as an everyman’s crime. It’s a crime that people don’t necessarily think they will commit but it’s one of those crimes that sort of all of us are capable of committing. You know we may be all had a drink too much and said oh, my house is only five, 10 minutes away I can get home. I’m okay to drive. You sort of convince yourself. Driving under the influence cases are very important to people because of the consequences.
And I recently had a case where I had a client actually refuse breath testing, which is not something I always recommend, but he refused breath testing because he was working at a bar and he therefore probably smelled like alcohol and he actually drove a bartender home and then he got stopped by police who said that they smelled an odor of alcohol on his breath. And he refused to do a field sobriety test. He refused to do a blood or breath analysis and most people would say well that’s consciousness of guilt. That’s something that shows that you must have something to hide if you’re not willing to undergo this testing.
Well we were able to call as a witness the bartender that he drove home and she testified that she would never get in a car with somebody who was clearly under the influence. And she testified that she had a drink with this gentleman but they had closed the bar and it was an hour or two before they left. And we were able to convince the court with witness testimony and even officer testimony that corroborated our side of the story that while their stop of my client was a legal one and they could prove that he was driving because they pulled him over they just couldn’t meet the burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt that he was under the influence at the time that they arrested him and he was found not guilty of all charges.