Is It Possible To Beat a DUI?
Driving home from a dinner date may quickly go from excitement to dread. Getting pulled over by the police is not something you want to deal with. When the officer asks you to step out and go through a series of roadside tests, you may find yourself in the back of the cruiser on suspicion of drunk driving. Is this charge permanent, or is there a way to fight it? How will it affect other aspects of your life? Learn how to beat a DUI charge and possibly avoid conviction.
What Is a DUI?
Every state has its own way of referring to a DUI; however, the basic premise is universal. When a driver operates a vehicle under the influence of alcohol, it presents a danger to the public. In some states, the definition includes drugs. When you hear you are suspected of a DUI, it means the officer believes you consumed enough alcohol to impair your ability to drive safely. An officer needs proof that you are driving intoxicated and cannot just charge you with the crime. This is where the challengeable aspects of a DUI come in.
Elements of a DUI Charge To Challenge
Having an alcoholic beverage does not necessarily mean you cannot drive. When an officer pulls you over, there is protocol to follow. If any element is mishandled, you may have a reason to challenge the stop and the resulting charge.
The police are not permitted to stop a vehicle without just cause. An officer must have an underlying reason for believing you may have either committed a crime, are currently committing a crime, or may commit a crime. This is called reasonable suspicion. Without it, the police cannot legally justify stopping you.
When it comes to a DUI stop, unless the police see you drinking alcohol in your car, or before getting in, they cannot stop you on this suspicion alone. They must see you commit another traffic infraction such as:
- Running traffic control devices
- Crossing a solid yellow line
- Driving too slow
- Failing to use blinkers
Without a valid reason for stopping your vehicle, the stop may be tossed.
The Breath Test
The evidence gathering begins once the officer starts questioning you. Police are trained in observation, beginning with your behavior. In a DUI investigation, police look for telltale signs of intoxication, some of which include:
- Slurred speech
- Bloodshot eyes
- Rambling answers
- Profuse sweating
- Odor of alcohol
Once the officer believes there is enough observable evidence, they may ask you to proceed to testing. The breath test is probably the most damning evidence a police officer can possess in a DUI case. This test measures the amount of alcohol in your system, and anything at .08 or higher is considered legally drunk. The higher your BAC, the higher your DUI charge may be.
Breath tests are not always accurate, and the police may not administer them properly. Your diet may also affect your BAC. Following a ketogenic plan may result in the discharge of alcohol from your breath even when you are not drinking. This will give the machine a false positive and result in your arrest. Therefore, challenging the results of the breath test may get your charge dropped.
Field Sobriety Tests
Field sobriety tests are a series of physical challenges meant to prove that you are impaired. The police use these tests to prove that you do not have control over faculties due to intoxication.
- Walk and Turn: This test measures your ability to follow verbal instructions and your coordination. It is common to perform this on the solid yellow shoulder line. The officer will ask that you walk heel-to-toe for a stated number of steps, turn and then walk back. The conditions of the road may become a factor in challenging the results of this test. A bumpy or uneven surface makes this action more difficult to perform successfully.
- Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus: The eyes may reveal telling signs about whether you are intoxicated or not. Alcohol leads to jumpy eye movements because of its effect on the nervous system. When an officer shines a light in your eyes, instructing you to follow a pen back and forth, the smoothness of the eye function is observed. If the eyes move to the side quickly, the officer may believe you are intoxicated. The issue with this test is you may have a condition that makes your eyes move in this fashion. Because the officer has no framework within which to measure your reaction, the test may be thrown out.
- One-Leg Stand: Demonstrating your ability to balance is the goal of the one-leg stand. The officer will ask you to raise one foot off the ground and count to an indicated number. You are instructed to keep your hands to your sides during the test. Depending on how you do, you may be asked to duplicate the test with the other foot. The biggest flaw in this test is you may not have a normal sense of balance and may falter whether you are sober or drunk.
Consequences of a DUI Conviction
You do not want to blindly accept a DUI charge, especially since the repercussions may taint your record. A conviction stays on your record for years. You may lose your driver’s license. You may also be required to have an ignition interlock device, something that can be quite costly. In some cases, you may lose your job. If you are a college student, a DUI conviction may result in you losing financial aid, grants and loans. Fighting a DUI is worth considering, especially if you have an underlying health condition that may make it easier for you to fail one of the police tests.
Work With an Experienced Local Lawyer
An attorney who is experienced in handling DUI stops may be a crucial ally in your challenge of the charge. You do not want to accept a DUI on your record or run the risk of jail time if you do not have to. There are many ways an experienced lawyer can help you get through the process. Submit a request online or call us today at (866) 345-6784 to get in touch with an attorney in your area!