A DUI charge can have severe legal consequences impacting your finances, career, and personal life. You can have your license suspended, face incarceration, and be ordered to pay hefty fines as a penalty. Repeat offenders face the most strict penalties, but a qualified DUI lawyer can help you avoid conviction. Continue reading to learn how a DUI lawyer can help you keep your freedom.
Disputing the Arrest Procedures
One of the potential defenses that an attorney can use to avoid a DUI conviction is proving the police did not have probable cause for the traffic stop. Typically law enforcement has the authority to pull over a motorist if they have reasonable suspicion, known as probable cause. For example, if the driver was speeding, weaving in and out of the lanes, or tailgating, those actions can qualify as probable cause.
The police do not have the authority to pull an individual over for a DUI test simply because they had a hunch or observed the individual leaving a bar. Unless the police had a reasonable cause for making you pull over, your defense attorney could dispute the arrest.
The slightest error by the police in making the arrest can let your case to be dismissed by the court. For instance, all individuals have the right to an attorney during or after arrest. If the police deny you that right, your DUI case could get dismissed.
Police Failure to Follow the Observation Period
In the U.S., it is mandatory for the police officer to conduct a proper observation before a breath test. Most states mandate the timeframe of the observation period to be 15 minutes before the police can charge someone with a DUI. The 15-minute observation is conducted to ensure the individual does not drink or eat anything that can interfere with the blood test results.
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One of the primary things a DUI defense attorney can question is whether the police conducted a reasonable observation period before their client’s breath test. There is a possibility that the police failed to observe the individual for 15 minutes. If the defense attorney proves the police’s failure to comply with the standard procedures, the entire DUI conviction can be dismissed.
Challenging the Reliability of The Roadside Sobriety Test
According to research, sobriety tests are only accurate 82% of the time, and only when conducted using a standard procedure. The 18% inaccuracy makes the sobriety test disputable.
The inaccuracy of field sobriety tests, the investigating police officer being unqualified, the officer’s failure to properly administer the sobriety test, or not using a standardized field sobriety test can be used as a part of the defense strategy in court.
Challenging the Breath Test Readings
Law enforcement agencies use breathalyzers or breath tests to determine the concentration of alcohol in the blood. Breath tests are an indirect way to measure blood alcohol concentration (BAC), making them less accurate than blood tests for a determining BAC above 0.08%.
Breath tests can detect methyl structures apart from ethyl alcohol and interpret them as BAC, which is why they cannot always be reliable. Additionally, if the breath test machine lacks regular calibration or maintenance, that can be used as a potential DUI defense.
Disputing the Accuracy of the Blood Test
While blood tests are more accurate than breath tests in DUI cases, there are a few ways their admissibility can be disputed. For instance, if the blood had been improperly stored after being drawn, it can ferment, which increases alcohol concentration. This can result in a misleading BAC.
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Another possible defense in a DUI case can be rising blood alcohol concentration. The defense could argue in court that their BAC was below the legal limit while driving, but it had increased by the time the tests were conducted. Since it takes time for alcohol to get absorbed into the system, this defense tactic could be successful if your BAC were marginally above the legal limit when the blood test was conducted.
Additional defenses to a blood test result include the person conducting the blood test being unqualified, the equipment used for testing was not properly calibrated or clean, or storage errors with the blood sample.
Refusing a blood test after getting arrested for DUI could get your driving license suspended, but the police have the legal duty to have a warrant for conducting a blood test. If the officer obtains your blood for a BAC test without a warrant, it can be used as a defense strategy in court.
Using a Police Officer’s Failure to Read Miranda Rights
The police must read the person’s Miranda rights before proceeding with custodial interrogation or arrest. Miranda rights constitute that the individual can remain silent during the arrest with a right to an attorney or counsel, and anything they say could be used against them in court. If the police officer fails to read the Miranda rights before making the arrest, your DUI charge can be challenged in court.
The police can ask exploratory questions at the time, but they cannot ask questions to pressure you into incriminating yourself. For instance, if an officer asks questions such as “Have you been drinking tonight?” it can be considered an incriminating question and used as a DUI defense in court.
Dispute the Procedure of Presenting Evidence
The procedures used by the police to obtain evidence from the accused, the process of storing and handling evidence, and how the prosecution can present evidence in court are all specified by the law. For example, the prosecution cannot bring any irrelevant individual or hearsay to testify in court for a DUI conviction.
Any video or audio record proving the charge on the defendant must also be authenticated, and arresting officers should be able to testify that they were present at the scene. With any of these issues being doubtful, the evidence can be suppressed, increasing the chances of the court dismissing the DUI case.
Find an Experienced DUI Lawyer
Being charged with a DUI can be stressful; however, Seattle DUI lawyers can defend you and get the charge dismissed or the penalties minimized. Your defense attorney can use several strategies to prove you are not guilty of a DUI. If the charge cannot be dismissed, the attorney can negotiate with the prosecution to help you avoid severe DUI penalties.