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In 2016 over 1 million people faced an arrest for driving while under the influence of alcohol. These are serious charges that have far-reaching consequences.
If you feel that you have unfairly experienced arrest, you will want to fight the charges. There are several ways to counter them beyond the basic, “I wasn’t drinking” approach.
Be sure to discuss with your legal representation the following possible defenses for your DUI case.
No Probable Cause for Stop
The officer needs to have probable cause to be able to stop you. If he doesn’t, then the evidence and case that resulted from the improper stop may get dismissed. Think of this as fruit from the poisonous tree.
If the source, the tree, isn’t proper, then everything stemming from it is also improper.
The police will have to show that they had reasonable suspicion or belief that you were doing something illegal before they stopped you. This reasonable belief is also referred to as probable cause.
An example of this situation looks like this: You are out driving at 2 am and commit no traffic violation. An officer pulls you over on the basis that you are out driving “at bar closing time”.
Any evidence as to your lack of sobriety can be argued as inadmissible. This includes anything you say to the office, blood and breath test results, and any field sobriety test administered.
Faulty Breath Test
This argument might be tough to achieve if you plan to represent yourself. However, if you hire a DWI lawyer, they can explain how likely this argument will succeed for you.
Some jurisdictions have a reputation for having faulty breath tests. They could face any one or more of these issues:
- Instrument failure
- Improper use
- Failure to observe defendant before use
- Physiological conditions
While using a breath test is the most common method used for testing a driver’s alcohol level, it is not the most accurate. It can’t measure the amount of alcohol in your blood.
Outside influences can affect the results of the test. This means the officer can determine you have more alcohol in your system than you really do.
You Have a Medical Condition
If you suffer from certain medical conditions, you may have faulty results on your breath test. Conditions such as GERD, or Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, heartburn, or acid reflux can all contaminate your breath test results.
The reason for this is that all of these conditions cause acid to travel from your stomach to your mouth. If this happens during or right before your breath test, it can mask the air coming from deep within your lungs.
If the breath test can’t accurately read this deep lung air, then you will have a false reading for your test. It will read falsely high for your BAC.
Your Diet Influenced the Test
Do you follow a strict Atkins-style of diet? Or maybe you suffer from diabetes or hypoglycemia.
All of these situations create the possibility of self-producing isopropyl alcohol. The reason for this is that bodies that get deprived of carbs use fat stores for energy.
This conversion process produces ketones. The ketones then get released from the body through your breath and urine.
The problem comes in when the ketones turn into isopropyl alcohol upon release. Breath tests can’t tell the difference between this natural occurring isopropyl alcohol and ethyl alcohol. As a result, you will have a falsely high BAC reading.
“Rising Blood Alcohol”
Alcohol takes time to absorb into your system. The range is between 50 minutes and three hours. This is an important issue because it doesn’t matter what your BAC is when they get around to testing you.
What matters is your BAC while you were driving. So if you recently drank alcohol, and then get pulled over, your BAC will continue to rise after you get pulled over.
Most prosecutors will assume you are beyond the peak absorption phase when you submit to your test. However, this isn’t always the case.
It is possible your BAC was below the legal limit when you were behind the wheel. It was only after the fact that it rose to an arrestable level.
Field Sobriety Tests are Subjective
Police departments take measures to try and ensure accurate field sobriety testing measures are in place. However, the tests are ultimately inaccurate and subject to the officer that administers the test.
There are several reasons why someone can perform poorly on these tests that have nothing to do with drinking alcohol.
- Poor lighting
- Poor footwear
- Bad weather
- Uneven surface conditions
- Officer induced intimidation
- Uncoordinated driver
You Were Not Driving
It isn’t enough to prove that you were under the influence; the officer also needs to prove that you were driving. Maybe there was an accident, but no one saw you driving or in the driver’s seat.
The officer could have found you in your parked car. Both of these situations will make it more difficult to prove that you operated the vehicle while intoxicated.
There Was Police Misconduct
It is possible to get your DUI charges knocked out if there was police misconduct. There are a few things that police officers must do to ensure proper procedures are followed.
- Reports must be accurate
- Officers must follow all procedures
- Courtroom testimony must be truthful
These are more about the officer not doing their job correctly. There is also a situation where an officer intentionally acts illegally. This could include manipulating, fabricating, or ignoring evidence to craft a new storyline of events.
Fight Your DUI
It may feel like the end of the world when you face a DUI charge. But all is not over just yet.
Discuss these possible defenses with your attorney. With the right defense strategy, you can get your DUI charge dropped or dismissed.
Check out our blog for more advice on representing yourself in legal situations.