DUI Defense: How to Defend Against a DUI Charge
Driving under the influence (DUI) is a crime that can follow you around for years. A conviction can lead to punishing fines, losing your license, and even jail time in the short term. Moreover, it can also reduce your future job prospects and limit your options for places to live.
With stakes this high, it is essential that you learn about your defense options. You may find a surprising or unexpected reason to question your arrest in the following sections.
Challenging the Stop
The Fourth Amendment protects individuals from unreasonable searches and seizures, including traffic stops. If the police pulled you over without a valid reason, the evidence could be invalid. Accordingly, you could question the officer’s suspicions or argue they lacked probable cause.
Challenging Field Sobriety Tests
Police officers administer field sobriety tests (FSTs) during a DUI stop to decide whether the driver is impaired. However, FSTs are not always accurate.
For example, if you have a medical condition, you may perform poorly, even if you are sober. Therefore, you can challenge the results by identifying factors that may have affected your performance. Additionally, you can argue the police did not administer the tests properly.
Challenging Breathalyzer Tests
Breathalyzer tests are a typical way to measure a driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC) level. However, they are not infallible. The results can be inaccurate if law enforcement has not calibrated the machine recently. You can challenge its reading by questioning its readiness or how the police used it in the field.
Even if the device is accurate, numerous factors can produce high readings:
- Suffering from diabetes
- Taking one of your prescription medicines shortly before the test
- Your body temperature may have been unusually high
- Gargling with mouthwash or chewing a breath mint
- Eating acidic food, such as a vinaigrette salad dressing
- Using a cleaning product or paint thinner containing alcohol before driving
This defense argues that your BAC level was below the legal limit when they started driving. This situation can occur if the alcohol does not absorb into your system before the stop. Consequently, you may demonstrate that you reasonably believed your BAC level was lower.
A driver may have had little choice but to drive under the influence. For example, you could have to flee a dangerous situation. If you feared for your life, you could present necessity as a legal defense.
The police officer that stopped you may have engaged in misconduct during the traffic stop. For example, they may have coerced or threatened you into taking a breathalyzer test. Similarly, they could have failed to read your Miranda rights or engaged in racial profiling.
Work With an Experienced Local Lawyer
As you have read, you can have several successful legal defenses against a DUI charge. Nonetheless, discussing what you have learned with a local attorney is in your best interests. Once they know the details, they can organize a compelling case to present in court.