So, you've been arrested for DUI. Maybe you had a few too many drinks at a party. Maybe you were prescribed a medication that made you drowsy. Or maybe you were just plain unlucky and got pulled over by a cop who was having a bad day.
Whatever the reason, you're now facing a serious charge. A DUI conviction can mean a suspended license, hefty fines, and even jail time. But don't despair. There are a number of DUI defenses that may be available to you.
Here's my quick guide to DUI defenses:
Defense #1: You weren't actually drunk.
This may seem like a no-brainer, but it's actually a common defense. Maybe you blew under the legal limit on the breathalyzer. Maybe you took a field sobriety test and passed with flying colors. Or maybe you have a medical condition that can mimic the signs of intoxication.
Whatever the reason, if the prosecution can't prove that you were actually impaired, they can't convict you of DUI.
Defense #2: The police stop was illegal.
If the police officer who pulled you over didn't have a valid reason to do so, any evidence they obtained during the stop can be suppressed. This means that the prosecution can't use it against you in court.
So, what are some valid reasons for a traffic stop? The officer must have reasonable suspicion that you were violating the law. This could be anything from speeding to driving erratically. If the officer didn't have reasonable suspicion, your stop was illegal and any evidence they obtained can be suppressed.
Defense #3: The breathalyzer test was inaccurate.
Breathalyzer tests are not perfect. They can be affected by a number of factors, such as mouthwash, breath fresheners, and even your diet. If you think your breathalyzer test was inaccurate, you may be able to challenge it in court.
There are a number of ways to challenge a breathalyzer test. You can argue that the machine was not properly calibrated or maintained. You can also argue that the officer who administered the test was not properly trained.
Defense #4: The field sobriety tests were inaccurate.
Field sobriety tests are even less reliable than breathalyzer tests. They are based on the officer's subjective observations, and they can be easily affected by factors such as lack of appropriate training, fatigue, stress, and medical conditions.
If you believe that your field sobriety tests were inaccurate, you may be able to challenge them in court. You can argue that the officer's observations were flawed, or that you have a medical condition that affected your performance on the tests.
Defense #5: You had a valid medical reason for driving impaired.
If you have a dental implant or speech impediment that slurs your speech, or if you have a medical condition that can mimic the signs of intoxication, you may have a valid defense to a DUI charge.
In order to assert this defense, you will need to provide medical evidence to support your claim. This could include a statement from your doctor, or a copy of your medical records.
If you have been arrested for DUI, it is important to speak with an experienced DUI defense attorney. A good lawyer can help you understand your legal rights and options, and can develop a strong defense strategy on your behalf.
Remember, a DUI conviction is not inevitable. There are a number of DUI defenses that may be available to you. With the help of a good lawyer, you may be able to get the charges against you dismissed or reduced.
Bonus tip: If you're going to drink, don't drive. It's not worth the risk. But if you do find yourself in a situation where you need to drive after drinking, call a taxi or a ride-sharing service. It's cheaper than DUI litigation or conviction.
And remember, if you do get arrested for DUI, keep your mouth shut and call a lawyer.