DUI Defense Strategies

Finding DUI Defense Strategies Will Be Specific To Your DUI Arrest. Get Your DUI Arrest Evaluated Now to Find Out What Strategies You Can Use in Court.

Despite what some say about defeating driving under the influence (DUI) charges, from sucking on pennies to chomping down breath mints, these types of tactics will get you nowhere. The only real chance you have of beating a DUI charge is mounting a thorough, credible DUI defense strategy that has the best chance of getting your charge reduced or dismissed.

There are many facets of a DUI prosecution, all of which are opportunities for an experienced DUI attorney. Coming up with a defense for a DUI charge can be tough, but, no matter the case, the right strategy can be found for any defendant. You just need the right attorney to formulate the right defense, some of which include the following:

Improper Police Stop

The United States Constitution forbids law enforcement from arbitrarily pulling private citizens over without first having reasonable suspicion. As interpreted for decades through appeals in the Supreme Court, “reasonable suspicion” is typically defined as “articulable and specific grounds that provide [law enforcement] with reasonable suspicion that criminal activity is afoot…” Put simply, this means law enforcement officials require more than simple hunches or gut feelings that certain individuals have committed a crime or are in the act of committing a crime.

Within the context of drunk driving—as well as any plain old traffic stop—police officers need to physically see a suspect commit wrongdoing of some kind. If a driver was not speeding or swerving, was obeying every traffic law, and had no mechanical issue with their car, a DUI attorney could contend that the officer lacked reasonable suspicion for pulling you over. Any evidence collected afterward would be inadmissible in a court of law.

Failing to Adhere to Protocol for Field Sobriety Testing

When police officers administer field sobriety testing (FST), there are actual legal protocols they must follow for the test results to be admissible for a DUI prosecution. Failure by police to follow predetermined measures can lead to a fast suppression of any evidence they gathered, especially if the officers also engaged in overly intimidating, inappropriate, or disrespectful conduct toward you during testing. Furthermore, field sobriety test results are only one piece of the state’s case, and they are not proof of intoxication on their own.

For instance, the importance of the heel-toe test diminishes if the defendant was forced to participate in the test while also wearing awkward footwear, such as high-heeled shoes. If there was inclement weather during testing or if the defendant’s balance was affected by an injury, the officer’s FST observations would also lose significance as state’s evidence.

Improper Testing or Blood Sample Storage

After a DUI suspect has been arrested, the first thing police do is arrange for a blood-alcohol analysis via a licensed, trained phlebotomist as soon as possible. However, due to unprofessional wait times or testing performed by untrained lab technicians, there are very strong defense possibilities here.

As well, police must ensure their samples are maintained properly to prevent contamination, mislabeling, or fermentation, with the last being especially damaging, as fermentation causes there to be more alcohol in a sample. If there are questions regarding a sample’s integrity, it can be declared inadmissible, leaving prosecutors with little for advancing their case.

Medical Conditions

For defendants with a medical condition, this can not only give the appearance of intoxication at times, but it can even distort the results of roadside breathalyzer tests. Neurological issues or fatigue can lead to slurred speech whereas sinus troubles, crying, and allergies can lead to watery eyes.

Additionally, a supposed “alcohol smell” on a defendant’s breath can come from ketosis, a side effect of diabetes involving the fermentation of glucose within the bloodstream, thereby creating an odor similar to “alcohol breath.” Ketosis can even lead to sober individuals registering alcohol on breathalyzers.

Miranda Violations or Improper interrogation

Once suspects are placed “under arrest,” the United States Constitution requires police officers to inform suspects of this official action taking place, which is distinct from simple conversations where individuals may leave freely if they choose. When individuals are under arrest, officers are required to advise them immediately of their rights, including the right to an attorney, the right to remain silent, and the right to a court-appointed attorney if they cannot afford one.

Police must also state that any statements made following the listing of the suspect’s rights can be used against them in court. If police officers fail to issue Miranda warnings, any evidence collected afterward—biological evidence, incriminating statements, FST observations—is likely to be excluded.

Inappropriately Communicating with the Suspect

Prosecutors understand that defendants cannot be spoken to or interrogated without the express consent or presence of the defendant’s attorney. However, this has not stopped district attorneys or law enforcement in the past from trying to circumvent trial by tempting defendants with a plea bargain—using strategies a DUI attorney would not allow.

When this takes place, any pleas that are entered outside of protocol can be overturned quickly after showing that police or prosecutors communicated improperly with the defendant, which wouldn’t go over well with the presiding judge.

Violating Procedure and Rules of Evidence

Unlike previous DUI defenses, there are several that might not come up until the trial begins, such as violations of state rules of civil procedure as well as rules of evidence. This fairly broad category covers rules forbidding hearsay, introducing improper character evidence, and using unauthenticated recordings, photographs, and documents.

For instance, prosecutors may try introducing evidence of dashboard or body cam police videos, hoping to show the officer present for the defendant’s field sobriety tests. However, the prosecution needs the officer’s testimony, stating he was present for the FST, the individual in the video is the defendant, and the recording occurred at the time and date proclaimed by the state. Otherwise, the recording is excluded as evidence.

Regardless of which defense strategy is best for your particular case, it can be difficult to come up with one on your own in the pursuit of beating your DUI charge. That’s why having a skilled DUI attorney by your side is the best option going forward, as we can work to provide you with as many options as are available, getting your charge reduced or even dismissed entirely.

4 thoughts on “DUI Defense Strategies

  1. I was arrested for a dui , but yet I was not driving at the time. I told the officer I could not do the field soberity test because of health issue, Judge said no Health issues would prevent me from Doing test{ I have vertigo), and he gave me a breathalyzer which he stated was.12 which I have not seen or was given any evidence of it. I said that I requested a blood draw. The blood draw came back a year later, an showed no concentrate of ethanol in my blood, but the public defender that assured me it would be dismissed was mistaken, The Judge rejected the Blood results, and said the State officers are honest and quickly found me guilty which the public defender put on no defense with regard to the officer or the facts in the case. My attorney never asked for the culpitory evidence Ignore evidence(officers Notes he used on the stand). I want to appeal the verdict as it was not based of Facts, but judges personal feelings as he stated Officers are good guys! They were also in a hurry to leave for a Baseball game and gave us 30 min to present case. and my attorney di nothing about it, and refused to set case for another day.

    • Marcy, This is exactly why we stress NOT to use a public defender. Having vertigo will greatly effect the outcome of the FST and should not have been administered by the police. You will need to appeal the verdict with an attorney. Unfortunately this needs to be done by an experienced lawyer that will cost money. I recommend borrowing money in order to get this resolved by competent legal counsel. Trust me it’s worth it not having this on your record.

  2. I was charged with a DUI. I turned my license in, they expired during this time. I paid all fines. Sold my car to do this. How long will this stay on my record? I would like my license’s back and I realize I will need to take the test again. Does a DUI ever leave your record?

    Thank you for your info.

    • Hi Lynn, was your license suspended or revoked? If only suspended then you need to contact your state DMV to find out how long. A DUI will stay on your record depending on the state and verdict in court. Were you convicted or did you get a plea bargain?

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