Being charged with a drunk driving offense can be enormously stressful. After all, a conviction could leave you facing jail time, fines, mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device and damage to your reputation that can impact everything from your job to where you live.
With so much at stake, you need to know how to aggressively defend yourself and protect your rights. That starts with knowing your criminal defense options when facing DUI charges.
What defense options are available to you?
Even when it feels like you can’t overcome the evidence that the prosecution is prepared to present against you, you might be able to make strong legal arguments that lead to reduced charges, an acquittal or maybe even outright dismissed charges. What are those defense arguments? Let’s look at some of them here:
- Breath test inaccuracies: Law enforcement officers and prosecutors act as if breath test results are infallible. But this isn’t the case. These tests are notoriously inaccurate, sometimes with results that are off by as much as 10%. But unless you highlight the issues with your test, you may be on the brink of conviction despite the test’s issues. This is why you need to scrutinize how the test was conducted, how the testing equipment is maintained and any other factors that may have contributed to test inaccuracies.
- Illegal traffic stop: If the police lacked reasonable suspicion to conduct the traffic stop that ultimately led to your drunk driving-related arrest, you may be able to suppress any incriminating evidence that was obtained after the stop. This is because you have Constitutional protections against unreasonable and illegal searches and seizures. If you’re able to suppress the prosecution’s evidence by showing illegality in a traffic stop, you can quickly derail their case.
- Invalid field sobriety tests: Although field sobriety tests are supposed to be standardized and provide an objective measure of intoxicating behavior, the truth of the matter is that these tests are also highly inaccurate. Officers might fail to give proper instruction or misinterpret test results, or a driver’s medical condition may impact their ability to successfully complete the test without showing signs that are misinterpreted as intoxication. Given these issues, you might be able to effectively challenge field sobriety tests in court.
- Bad driving: Many people who are pulled over for suspected drunk driving are simply committing traffic infractions. Although poor driving practices can leave you susceptible to some penalties, they pale in comparison to those imposed upon a conviction for drunk driving. Therefore, as you prepare your case, you may want to pay attention to all of the ways that you drove safely when the police were preparing to stop you so that you can rebut that your actions that were indicative of intoxication.
There may also be other defense options available to you. What’s important is that you thoroughly analyze the facts of your case so that you can identify those arguments that are best suited to protect your interests.
Are you ready to build your defense?
If you want to try your hardest to avoid the harsh penalties associated with a DUI conviction, you need to be prepared to present an aggressive criminal defense. To do so, you need to know the ins and outs of the law and how to develop persuasive arguments. That can be stressful to think about given what the prosecution is throwing at you and how it has impacted your day-to-day life, but you can find support in the development of your case from a strong criminal defense attorney of your choosing.