DUI defenses are based on lawyer knowledge, experience, and intuition. A good lawyer has a whole deck of cards to play in order to protect his or her client. Some of them are not quite secrets.
Here are some things you may be unaware of when being charged with driving under the influence.
Breathalyzers Are Not 100% Accurate
While officers may not like to believe it, breath tests are subject to human error. If the only evidence of your DUI charge is a breathalyzer test, you have a strong case. Of course, there is officer testimony, and more importantly blood tests. Blood tests are the most accurate of all blood alcohol content tests. But, a breath test can be questioned in court.
You Do Not Always Have to Take Field Sobriety Tests
Another thing officers may not want you to know is that most states have no laws saying you must take field sobriety tests. You do have to take breathalyzer tests at the risk of immediate license suspension in almost all states, but the tests where you walk in a straight line, count backwards, etc, are not mandatory. You can say no. If you are unsure, ask the officer if declining the field sobriety tests will lead to more charges.
Juries Are Rare
While having a jury of your peers is allowed by federal laws, state laws have circumvented this, making juries in DUI trials very rare. You might be able to get a jury, but most states make you face a judge instead.
Infractions, Misdemeanors, Felonies
Many do not fully understand the legal system, and no wonder – it’s complicated. For the record, infractions are the most minor of charges such as speeding, while misdemeanors are the next level up, and can be used for DUI cases. If you get felony charges for a DUI, that means you’re being charged with a very serious offense. You might be very far over the legal limit, have been charged with drinking and driving before, or hit someone while driving.
If you hit someone while driving and hurt them, felony charges are common. If they die, you can face even tougher penalties. This is not a fun subject to address, but drinking and driving leads to thousands of deaths every year. The legal term is vehicular homicide. If you drink to excess, drive, get into an accident, and someone dies, you can expect stiff charges and a lot of jail time.