Defending a DUI Charge
If you have been arrested for DUI or driving under the influence of alcohol you are facing severe penalties. DUI penalties can include: high fines, increased insurance costs, license suspension, mandatory alcohol education courses, probation and jail time. Given the complexity of DUI laws, representing yourself at your DWI trial can be a mistake.
DUI lawyers can review your DUI arrest and analyze the methods used to perform your chemical tests and ensure, not only that your constitutional rights have not be violated, but that all of the testing procedures were performed accurately.
Common DUI Driving Defenses
Establishing Probable Cause for the DUI Stop
The first question that a DUI lawyer can review is whether or not the police officer had probable cause to stop you for DUI. Probable cause can include any reckless or illegal action witnessed by the officer. Some actions are greater indications of intoxication than others, but many actions will give the officer probable cause to make a stop.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has determined any of the following driving actions could be an indication that you are driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs:
Striking an object with your vehicle
Turning with a wide radius
Weaving in and out of traffic
Slow Driving or driving too fast
Tires on the Center Markers of the road
Headlights not turned on
Driving the wrong direction on the roadway
Just because the police officer witnesses one of these actions, this does not mean you were intoxicated. If the officer did not have probable cause for your DUI stop, your DUI lawyer can have the evidence suppressed. If the police officer did have probable cause for the stop, you may have a valid explanation for your actions. For instance, were you tired, distracted or under physical stress? Did you have another physical impairments which negatively impacted your ability to drive? A defense attorney may be able to prepare a defense which explains the reason for your behavior.
Blood-alcohol Concentration Test
If you have been stopped for DUI you may be asked to submit to a blood alcohol concentration or BAC test of your breath, blood or urine. Under states implied consent laws you have already given your implied consent to submit to these tests. You are allowed to refuse to take the test; however, refusal can have harsh administrative penalties (such as a license suspension) which will be in addition to any criminal charges.
If you submit to the chemical test and your blood alcohol concentration is above the legal limit of 0.08% or higher, you can be charged with DUI. If you have failed the chemical test the DUI attorney can review the admission process of the test and determine whether or not it was calibrated properly by the police officer prior to the administration of the test.
If you were given a breathalyzer test the DUI lawyer can also review whether your negative test results may have been caused something other than alcohol. For instance, breathalyzer tests can be sensitive to temperature, breathing patterns, and the presence of other chemical compounds on the breath which can be registered as alcohol.
In addition, DUI lawyers can ensure the breathalyzer machine has been property maintained and whether or not this machine has historically performed well. Conversely, the prosecution for the state must provide evidence that the machine has been maintained and calibrated correctly and that the law enforcement officers followed standard protocol when administering the tests.
Hiring a DUI Lawyer
In this blog we have covered two areas where a DUI lawyer may be able to help you defend your DUI arrest. If your DUI lawyer can prove the police officer did not have probable cause to make the DUI stop or if the chemical testing was improperly performed, your DUI lawyer may be able to legally request that evidence for your DUI be suppressed.
If you have been arrested for DUI, it is time to get legal help from a DUI lawyer. Do not leave your future to chance; get the help you need today.