Pennsylvania v. Griffith (majority)Annotate this Case
The issue on appeal before the Supreme Court in this case was whether expert testimony is required to convict a defendant of driving under the influence of a drug or combination of drugs when the drugs in question are prescription medications. Appellee Michelle Griffith was charged with DUI following an eyewitness' account of her driving in a "reckless and dangerous manner." Appellee failed field sobriety tests administered by law enforcement. Diazepam, Nordiazepam and "Soma 350" were detected in her blood which Appellee admitted to taking on the morning of the incident. At trial, two individuals testified: the eyewitness and the responding police officer. The trial court convicted Appellee and sentenced her to three months' imprisonment and a fine. Appellee appealed the conviction, arguing the evidence was not sufficient without testimony of an expert to establish the medications impaired her ability to drive safely. The superior court agreed an expert was needed and vacated Appellee's conviction. The Commonwealth appealed. The Supreme Court reversed the superior court, finding the evidence was sufficient to establish Appellee was under the influence of drugs to a degree that impaired her ability to drive.