Everybody knows that drunk driving is illegal and that those who drive while intoxicated face fines, license suspension and even possibly jail time if caught and convicted. People in Schuylkill County should also be aware that drunk drivers may also face civil liability for their misdeeds. If their drunk driving results in personal injuries or property damage, the drunk driver could be held liable in a court of law for the damages.
In order to win a case against a drunk driver, a victim or their family must present evidence to the court that the alleged drunk driver was too intoxicated to drive. How is this evidence collected? Very often, this evidence is collected by the police when they investigate the alleged drunk driver for violating the criminal laws of Pennsylvania. When the police arrive at the scene of an auto accident, the police may have a reasonable suspicion that one or more drivers were intoxicated. When a reasonable suspicion exists, the police may stop the suspect and investigate further.
How do police officers investigate when they have a reasonable suspicion that a driver is intoxicated? They may start out by simply asking the suspect whether they have had anything to drink and, if so, how much. They may also observe the behavior of the suspect, looking for telltale signs of intoxication such as slurred speech, unsteady balance or the odor of alcoholic beverages on the suspect's breath.
The police may conduct sobriety testing and get a preliminary estimate of the suspect's blood alcohol level. Based on the results of the testing, the suspect may be arrested and brought in for further testing. All of this information will be noted in a police report, and the police officer may be available to testify about the suspect's level of intoxication at later criminal and civil trials.