Successfully Challenging Officer Statements, Actions, and Testimony in DUI
Quite often, a DUI case comes down to how an officer acts and how you refute his or her testimony. The officer could have, or say they did, pulled you over for running a red light or driving incorrectly. You are then given a breathalyzer. In this instance, you may think the game is over. However, you have rights and you will have your day in court. The example given will be the focus of this blog guide on using officer statements, actions, and testimony to defend a DUI.
Why They Pulled You Over
In the example given, you may have run a red light; in this instance, there is a clear reason to pull you over if in fact this is true. If you were driving incorrectly, that's a different interpretation. You may have been driving fine, and in fact there was no reason to pull you over. The officer can pull you over for a variety of other reasons, but they legally have to relate to your driving. If you were driving correctly, and the officer pulled you over because you were a minority, were a young driver, were a woman, even if you were a white male and the officer took a chance, these are illegal. The problem is this can be very difficult to prove in court. It's not always ethnic background or sex, but it's been reported, unfortunately, that sometimes officers pull you over simply based on how you look.
How Did You Act?
If you acted in a way that seemed odd, the officer can use this as evidence of giving you a breathalyzer. In our example, you may have been legally pulled over for running a red light; the officer then briefly questioned you and thought you acted odd. In this case, your defense can be based on what you believe happened. Maybe you were just nervous or mad about being pulled over. Perhaps you have a medical condition. There are many explanations for acting oddly beyond drinking and driving. Your defense can refute why the officer pulled you over, why they tested you for alcohol, and why they arrested you.
The Sobriety Test
Technically, sobriety tests beyond a breathalyzer or blood test can be wrong. Breathalyzer tests can also be used incorrectly. And you do you not to take certain sobriety tests, such as walking in a straight line, as no states have laws on the books saying you have to. You are required to take the breathalyzer, but even if you do and fail, it does not mean defense is impossible. The best proof of a DUI is the blood test, where human error is negligible.
What Can You Do?
If you feel you were pulled over for no legal reason, if the officer acted in error, if the sobriety test was wrong, if the breathalyzer was incorrect, and if you believe your innocence you need an experienced DUI lawyer. This is too complex of a case to handle alone.
The important thing is you can win. While most DUI cases where both officer testimony, the breathalyzer, and the blood test show clear intoxication do end up in a guilty verdict, there is a lot of room for error. You can refute the testimony of the officer with witnesses. You can prove you were not drinking at all. You can report how you acted oddly in the sobriety test because of a physical impairment. There are more defenses than you might think. If you're innocent and you know it, you have a right to hire a lawyer. On the other hand, if you're guilty and you know it, it's too difficult to win if the proof is irrefutable, but you still should hire a lawyer in order to lessen charges.