The Philadelphia DUI Law Blog

Fire Chief Yuknavich's DUI to be Extinguished?

Wilkes-Barre Township Fire Chief John Yuknavich has not had a good year, but things might be turning in his favor legally, reports Yuknavich recently received a year of probation for an assault incident. In addition, he is facing unresolved charges on theft incidents stemming from alleged misappropriation of fire department funds as well.

To top it all off, Chief Yuknavich was charged with driving under the influence when he was pulled over for violating a restraining order by driving near a woman's home, who just happened to have a protective order against him. That's a bad year for a Fire Chief.

Due to the deft legal maneuvering of his attorney, Yuknavich was found not guilty of violating the protective order, as it did not specifically prohibit driving on the protected party’s street.

Now, with that victory in hand, his attorney is moving to have the DUI charges tossed, as the police did not have a valid legal reason for pulling Yuknavich over.

It is a long-established rule that the police cannot stop cars randomly. They must have some valid reason, such as reckless driving or damaged lights, to pull someone over. However, DUI checkpoints are an exception, as they indiscriminately pull everyone over.

Quite frankly, it seems like a very valid argument. If the police pulled him over for an invalid reason, the stop may well be termed illegal.

Yukavich’s attorney has also filed a motion to suppress Yukavich’s statements that he made regarding his alcohol consumption earlier that evening. The argument seems to be that since the stop was illegal, and because Yuknavich was never read his Miranda rights, the “fruit of the poisonous tree,” namely the confession, must also be tossed. Generally, evidence resulting from illegal actions by police may not be used in court.

Sometimes, with the more open and shut DUI cases, there is little an attorney can do. But for John Yuknavich, his skilled attorney seems to be making all the difference.

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