Getting charged with a DUI can be an overwhelming and scary experience. It can result in hefty fines, suspension of your driver’s license, and even jail time. But being charged doesn’t mean you’re automatically guilty. There are numerous defenses that can be used to challenge a DUI charge – an experienced DUI lawyer should know how to handle a case like this. Here’s a look from Pioletti Pioletti & Nichols at some of the most common defenses that can be employed to fight against such allegations.
Inaccurate Field Sobriety Test Results
Field sobriety tests, often conducted on the side of the road, are a standard tool for law enforcement officers to gauge if a driver is impaired. However, many factors can affect the accuracy of these tests, including:
- Improper administration by the officer
- Uneven road or pavement conditions
- Medical conditions that affect balance or coordination
- Footwear or clothing that impedes your ability to perform the tests properly
If any of these conditions apply, it may be possible to argue that the test results were inaccurate.
Faulty Breathalyzer Results
Breathalyzer devices are commonly used to measure blood alcohol concentration (BAC). But these machines are not infallible. Results can be skewed by:
- Improper calibration or maintenance of the device
- The presence of mouth alcohol from recent use of mouthwash or some medications
- Medical conditions such as acid reflux or diabetes
If there’s a reason to believe the breathalyzer was inaccurate, this could serve as a strong defense against DUI charges.
Improper Stop By Law Enforcement
Law enforcement officers must have a valid reason, known as probable cause, to stop your vehicle. If the officer didn’t have a legitimate reason to pull you over in the first place, all evidence collected during the stop might be deemed inadmissible in court.
Chain Of Custody Issues
When blood or urine samples are collected for testing, they must be handled, stored, and transported properly to ensure accurate results. If there’s a break in the chain of custody or if protocols aren’t followed correctly, it can be argued that the sample may have been contaminated or mixed up, casting doubt on the validity of the test results.
Certain medical conditions can mimic the symptoms of intoxication. Conditions like hypoglycemia, stroke, or even a simple concussion can cause dizziness, slurred speech, or unsteady movement. If there’s medical evidence showing you had such a condition at the time of your arrest, this could be used as a defense.
Inadequate Observation Period
Before administering a breath test, officers are usually required to observe the suspect for a specific period, often 15-20 minutes, to ensure they don’t eat, drink, vomit, or do anything that might affect the test results. If this observation period is not adhered to, the breath test results might be challenged.
Sometimes, other passengers in the car or bystanders might testify on behalf of the defendant. Their statements can contradict the officer’s observations, especially if they claim the defendant was driving safely, showed no signs of impairment, or hadn’t consumed much alcohol.
It’s essential to understand that while these defenses can be effective, they are not guarantees. Each DUI case is unique, and the best defense strategy depends on the specific facts of your situation. If you or a loved one has been charged with a DUI, it’s imperative to seek professional legal advice immediately.
When facing DUI charges, you don’t have to navigate the legal maze on your own. An experienced law firm is there to help. A DUI lawyer can evaluate your situation, identify the best defense strategies, and fight for your rights. Don’t wait – contact a lawyer today for a consultation and let them be your advocate in court.