The Philadelphia DUI Law Blog

Acquittal in Rhoades DUI Case

In a case that Pennsylvania DUI attorneys will be studying for years to come, Thomas Senavitis was acquitted of vehicular homicide  today after a week-long trial.

Senavitis was being tried for the vehicular death of Senator James Rhoades, a prominent Pennsylvania politician who was killed on the campaign trail when his Cadillac collided with Senavitis' pickup truck in 2008.  At the time of the crash, Senavitis allegedly had a blood alcohol level over four times the legal limit. 

Senavitis' family rejoiced, but his PA DUI attorney had begun preparing for the second phase of the ordeal.  Senavitis and his PA DUI attorney may be seeking an appeal  of his DUI conviction.  Despite the fact that he was acquitted of vehicular homicide, he was still found guilty on lesser charges of reckless endangerment and driving under the influence.  According to his PA DUI attorney, Senavitis could face up to two years in prison. 

Interestingly, one question asked by the jury was whether Senavitis could be guilty beyond a reasonable doubt if both parties caused the crash.  As it appeared, the key to Senavitis' acquittal may have been in the fact that Senator Rhoades had swerved into the wrong lane to avoid hitting a minivan that was parked on the side of the road.  This argument may have been the smoking gun for Senavitis' PA DUI attorney. 

Pennsylvania DUI attorneys sometimes have nothing but the "reasonable doubt" standard to work with.  But sometimes, it is that standard that makes the difference between a criminal conviction and an acquittal.  the OJ Simpson trial was an example of this. 

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