A conviction for driving under the influence or DUI is no joke. The penalties that come with a conviction can be quite severe, even for first-time offenders.
Besides possible jail time, you might also be sentenced to probation, driver’s license suspension, hefty fines, ignition interlock device installation, and enrollment in DUI classes.
So, if you find yourself arrested on suspicion of DUI, get legal help immediately.
You can seek out an individual defense attorney or a group of lawyers. For example in Arizona you can benefit multiple legal minds with a team of DUI defense lawyers.
Here are some of the most common defenses to a DUI charge.
The Fourth Amendment guarantees our protection from unreasonable searches and seizures.
When a police officer stops a driver, he or she must have legal justification to do so, like a traffic law violation.
If the initial stop was merely based on a hunch or a guess, a skilled DUI attorney could establish that in court to help a client’s case.
Inaccurate or Invalid FSTs
Police officers typically conduct field sobriety tests (FSTs) on suspected drunk drivers.
These FSTs include the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus or HGN, the walk-and-turn (WAT), and the one-leg stand (OLS). Approved by the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA), these FSTs are supposed to be objective and accurate indicators of a person’s impairment.
The truth is, FSTs are highly subjective tests. Some medical conditions may affect a driver’s performance in all three tests.
The police may have improperly administered the FSTs. Whatever the case, your DUI attorney can challenge the results of your FSTs as part of your DUI defense.
You Were Not Mirandized
Even if you make incriminating statements while in police custody, those statements can never be used if the police officer who brought you in failed to give Miranda warnings before subjecting you to police questioning.
Question Accuracy of Breathalyzer Test
Your DUI attorney may also attack the accuracy of the results of your breathalyzer test.
He or she can claim that you have been vomiting or suffering from a bout of indigestion at the time of your arrest.
Your lawyer may also question if the officer was properly trained to operate the breathalyzer. An argument about whether or not the device was calibrated and appropriately maintained may also come up.
Present Medical Conditions
Did the police officer arrest you because of the smell of alcohol on your breath?
If you have diabetes, that alcohol smell may have been ketosis, a common side effect experienced by those with the ailment. Aside from the smell, ketosis may also cause a breathalyzer test to register the presence of alcohol.
Other physical signs of intoxication, like slurred speech, lack of coordination, and an unsteady gait, can be attributed to neurological conditions or simple fatigue.
Watery eyes and a flushed face, meanwhile, can be caused by allergies and sinus issues.
Present evidence that you were experiencing the symptoms of these medical conditions during your DUI arrest and your attorney will have a field day questioning the whole thing in court.
Your arresting officer’s impressions and observations about whether or not you were impaired at the time of your arrest will form a substantial part of the evidence to be presented against you in court.
Those observations may include what the officer thought about your driving, your demeanor during the stop, or simply how you looked.
Do you know of people who may have seen things differently?
If someone else saw that you appeared to be sober, or didn’t drink anything before driving off, then you can get them to testify for you in court and contradict your arresting officer’s report.
These are just some of the many defenses you can use in your DUI case.
As long as a skilled and experienced DUI attorney is representing you, there is a fair chance that these defense tactics will work to get you a reduced sentence or even get you off the hook.