DUI charges against police officers are always shocking but none reads quite as shocking as the charges against Officer Nicholas Harper. On August 3rd, he was arrested following an accident that occurred very early in the morning on August 2nd. He wasn’t hitting cars ON the road, though. He was ramming parked cars, inadvertently it’s presumed.
The parked cars in question were parked on 1600 block of North 6th street. Police explained that when they arrived on the scene, they noticed that Harper was impaired. He was immediately taken into custody and charged with driving under the influence. Sadly, it’s not altogether unusual for a police officer to be charged with driving under the influence in Pennsylvania.
He was not just given a breathalyzer but was also taken for blood chemical testing and more extensive tests. There is no word yet if Harper was under the influence of any other substances during his 4 parked car hitting spree. It’s yet to be seen if he is charged with any other violations due to the collisions with the parked cars. For now, it’s just a DUI charge, although a police officer facing a DUI charge is almost always facing a fight for his career as well.
No site knows this better than DUIwise.com, a popular hub for information about DUI defenses. So many people in the general public believe that a DUI case is the single case you can’t beat. Either you’re drunk or you’re not. In reality, many thousands of people beat DUI cases each year, with the help of things like the handy DUIwise How to Beat a DUI section of information and similar pages that let defendants know there is hope of beating a DUI. You just have to have the right lawyer for the job.
Harper faces a preliminary hearing on September 6th. It’s here that he will first face the music for his wild night of striking parked cars during what appeared to be a state of intoxication. As always, the defendant is innocent until proven guilty or until he admits guilt. Many defendants like Harper take something called a plea bargain that is a compromise between the state and the defense’s lawyers. Many times a DUI case becomes an exercise in getting a plea bargain that is going to spare the defendant jail time and other unpleasant punishments.
Harper’s BAC level is not yet known but it will play a big part in what his punishment turns out to be or what his defense options are. Pennsylvania’s DUI laws are heavily dependent on the defendant’s BAC levels. For example, if it’s a first offense DUI for Harper (this is not yet confirmed), he will face 6 months of probation and a $300 fine as long as his BAC level was between .08-.99. If his BAC was .10-.159, he’ll face 2 days to 6 months in prison, a $500-$5000 fine, and 12 months of license suspension. As you can see, the BAC level in these Pennsylvania cases matters a lot as to the outcome a defendant can expect. For lower level BAC cases, it’s possible to get by without even a license suspension.
Harper has not issued a statement about this case and the police department he works for has failed to release any notes about whether or not Harper will still be working during his DUI case. Strange as it may seem, there are instances where a police officer accused of a crime will be able to continue working or at the very least be paid for administrative leave. Details of the way that the police department has responded to Harper’s charge are upcoming. So far, no one knows much of anything about the action the police will take regarding his arrest.
There’s no word yet on the victims of his late night car hitting spree, either. In all, he hit 4 parked cars while trying to navigate the streets. Chances are that there will be upcoming insurance claims on the accidents and that Harper will also suffer major financial consequences for his actions as well. For now, not much is known about the victims of his late night drinking spree.
While it’s called a drinking spree here, it’s also entirely possible that Harper is innocent of these charges. When thinking about DUI cases, think of them just like any other case. No one is guilty until they have their day in court. Harper is facing his first day in court on the 6th and from there, more details of the arrest will emerge, as well as the results of chemical testing that was conducted the night of the arrest. Having a clear cut BAC level will make it easier for Harper’s attorneys to know how to handle the case moving forward. Sometimes they seek a plea bargain, depending on the chances of being proven guilty, and sometimes they’ll take a case all the way to trial if they suspect police of things like racial profiling or pulling someone over without a legal reason to do so.
Still, it seems unlikely that any of those things were a factor in this case. Harper had already hit 4 parked cars on the road before police were able to apprehend him and question him. For now, it looks like Harper will need to hire a very good DUI attorney such as those recommended on DUIwise. As the site itself explains, you must fight a DUI in order to get the best possible outcome for yourself, even if you are guilty of the crime. With a good lawyer at his side, Harper may be able to get help for the issues that caused him to drive drunk in the first place, or he may be able to have his case dismissed if it’s found out that police made a mistake in the arrest. It’s surprising, but there are plenty of times there is an arrest of someone who wasn’t really drunk at the time. Time will tell if this is the case with Harper.