DUI Charges Dropped Against Woman Out of Gas
In the early morning hours of November 9, 2007, an off-duty U.S. Border Patrol Agent came upon a North East, PA woman who was walking alone on the berm of Interstate 90. The woman had run out of gas about a mile back on the same highway. The agent offered to give the woman a ride to a nearby gas station because it was dark and raining heavily. In the course of assisting the woman, the agent suspected that the woman might be intoxicated because she tended to repeat herself, emitted an odor of alcoholic beverage, and had difficulty pumping gasoline. The agent contacted his dispatch operator, who in turn contacted the Pennsylvania State Police.
After the agent returned the woman to her car, she refueled and prepared to leave the scene. The off-duty U.S. Border Patrol Agent then prevented her from leaving by activating the overhead light on his marked Border Patrol vehicle. The two then stood in heavy rain in the dark alongside Interstate 90 until a Trooper arrived at the scene.
After the trooper interviewed the woman for a short time, she was taken into custody. A blood test later revealed a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.092 percent. It was the woman’s second arrest for DUI in two years.
After taking testimony from the law enforcement officer at the preliminary hearing, Erie DUI attorney Tim George prepared a pre-trial motion challenging the lawfulness of the arrest, violations of Miranda, and lack of reasonable suspicion. He also sought the suppression of all evidence obtained after the woman was prevented from leaving the scene after refueling her car.
At the time set for the suppression hearing, the Commonwealth withdrew the allegation of DUI in return for a plea to a summary offense, which resulted in only a $300 fine and court costs.
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