Many people assume that if they get arrested for drunk driving, they have no reasonable option other than to take a plea deal. At first glance, the evidence may seem incontrovertible. But many DUI cases are not as open-and-shut as one might assume.
The truth is that police officers make mistakes, equipment fails and suspects sometimes have their rights violated. With the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney, these problems can be discovered and used to mount a successful defense against charges of drunk driving.
If you’ve been arrested for DUI, here are three strategies that may be worth exploring:
Improper or illegal traffic stop: in short, the police officer didn’t have a legitimate reason to pull you over. Generally, a police officer must observe or otherwise reasonably believe (based on evidence) that you have committed a traffic violation or are committing (or have committed) a crime. If the officer didn’t have a legitimate reason to pull you over, you can file a motion to suppress the evidence obtained during the stop.
Problems with field sobriety tests: In order to be valid, field sobriety tests must be administered according to proper procedure and the results need to be interpreted as objectively as possible. If the officer fails to follow proper procedure or draws conclusions about your test that are strongly contradicted by dashcam or bodycam footage, this may aid your defense.
Problems with breathalyzer tests: Portable breathalyzer devices need to be serviced and calibrated regularly. In fact, police keep records of when individual devices receive maintenance and calibration. If you believe there was a problem with the device’s accuracy, your attorney can subpoena the device records. Additionally, if the officer made a mistake in administering the test, this could also be grounds for challenging the results.
Every criminal case must be individually judged on the facts and evidence – both of which can be challenged. If you’re facing charges, please don’t assume you are out of options without first discussing your case with a skilled criminal defense attorney.