To most people, DUI cases seem straightforward. The police pulled over someone who was inebriated, and they arrested that person. The authorities are aware of this perception, and they use it against suspects. Prosecutors try to convince you that the case is rock-solid, and you should take whatever punishment is coming your way.
Remember that, no matter the charge, you always have a right to a defense. You are also innocent until proven guilty. The state has a responsibility to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, and any evidence against you can be disputed in court.
If you’ve been accused of drinking and driving, here are some defenses you can discuss with your attorney.
Directly Challenging the Evidence
What, exactly, leads the police to believe that you driving while intoxicated? This is an important question to ask, especially during a trial. If the evidence is weak or incomplete, you can reveal its inconsistencies, helping create the doubt needed to preserve your freedom.
Here are some examples of evidence you can question in court.
Field Sobriety Tests
Field sobriety tests, or FSTs, are not always a good measure of drunkenness. Imagine a woman in a tight dress and heels, driving home from a party. The cops pull her over and ask her to walk in a straight line. Even without her heels, her clothes may be restrictive, making it difficult for her to walk without wobbling or stepping on her own feet. Cops could easily see these moves as indications of inebriation and make an arrest.
Make sure your attorney thoroughly scrutinizes the details of your FST, looking for inconsistencies or unfair assumptions.
Sometimes, the police need no other evidence than their own belief that someone is drunk. It’s usually easy to tell when someone is obviously, sloppily drunk. Even so, it’s still easy to jump to conclusions about people who are stone sober.
For instance, some illnesses can look like drunkenness to the untrained eye. A diabetic collapse in blood sugar can leave someone confused and appearing intoxicated. People with chronic sinus problems can tell you about how often the illness leaves them feeling a bit confused and disconnected.
Some people just have unique personalities. Their eccentricities make them appear drunk or high, even if they never drink or do drugs.
If the police jumped to conclusions in your case, make sure your attorney explains the facts in court.
Breath tests are often considered solid evidence both in an arrest and in court. They are, however, fallible. The most modern devices still have a 15% margin of error, which is a significant number.
Moreover, certain illnesses can affect your gut chemistry, leading to false positives on a breathalyzer. Kidney problems and GERD, for instance, create a chemical combination in your breath that a device can read as alcohol.
Make sure your lawyer analyzes any breathalyzer results, searching for errors that incorrectly implicate you in a DUI.
When performed correctly, blood tests are hard to dispute. They can accurately reveal how much alcohol is floating in someone’s bloodstream.
The question, then, is whether the test is actually performed correctly. First of all, this test should be performed only by a licensed phlebotomist. If anyone else at the station draws your blood, the results are immediately disputable.
Next, it’s important to track exactly where and how the blood is stored. There is a specific procedure that keeps the blood viable, and any variation to that procedure can taint results.
Finally, you must consider when the blood was drawn. During an arrest, you may find yourself at the station for hours. Your blood alcohol level will change over time. Your blood test results may not accurately reflect your BAC at the time of the arrest. Details like these can become important when questioning the evidence against you.
If you have been arrested for drunk driving, our firm is here to help. Call us now at (801) 901-7046 for a free consultation. You may also contact us online.