I am very confused and having a very difficult time deciding whether to fight the charge of suspicion of DUI or do ARD. I am currently a pre-law student with a pretty good knowledge of the law and have worked for a DA's office in the past, as well as have an older brother who is an Attorney General (not of my state).
November 22, 2007, Thanksgiving morning at 3:30 am, I was pulled over for having a broken registration light (license plate light). After signaling and pulling into a parking lot, the officer approached my vehicle and asked for my papers which I gave to him. After returning he asked me to step out of the vehicle and asked me if I had been drinking because he noted the smell of alcohol, to which I replied no. I informed him that I had been working earlier in the evening at the local bar that I work at.
He then asked me to perform the field sobriety tests which I politely declined. When asked to take a PBT, I also politely declined and when asked why responded by saying that I would rather not. He then informed me that by refusing the test I would be in violation of the implied consent law which I informed that I knew about, which he said would save him the time.
After interviewing my passenger, my girlfriend and giving her a PBT which she passed at .057, he placed me in handcuffs and escorted me to his crusier to be taken to the hospital for a blood test. I complied. Upon reaching the hospital I informed the officer that I was not going to take the blood test. He asked me to fill out some paperwork about the implied consent warnings and read me my rights all the while informing me that I was not under arrest as he had done earlier when he placed me in the cruiser. After signing the paperwork, he said you are free to go and I began to leave down the hallway while he remained behind with his partner at which point he yelled from down the hall, "by the way you are going to be charged at the highest level of DUI there is because of the refusal." I interrupted him and explained that I didn't think I was in trouble except for refusing the test and told him that I knew that I would lose my license for a year which wasn't all that bad.
Two weeks later I received the complaint stating that indeed I had been charged with DUI. In the officers report, he mentioned the standard signs. That I had bloodshot eyes, smelled like alcohol, specifically my breath, had difficulty entering the cruiser, which is not true, and that I had been acting suspiciously.
He also mentions in the report that he did not immediately detect the odor of alcohol and that I was driving safely. He also was incorrect about how he came to pull me over, which I know doesn't really matter.
My question is whether there really is enough proof to convict me if they only have his observations, no field sobriety tests, no PBT, no blood alcohol. Proof beyond a reasonable doubt. My older brother says in his state it would be a NG guaranteed. My eyes were red because it was 330, I smelled like alcohol because I had worked earlier and had 2 beers earlier in the night, I had trouble entering the cruiser because I was not used to walking in handcuffs and it was dark etc... I understand that in PA, the refusal is admissible but can not be used to determine guilt, it must be taken into account with everything else.
So fight it or ARD?