Challenging DUI Charges: The Defense Strategies That Work

A DUI conviction can wreak havoc on your life. As such, you should pull all the stops to avoid it. Below are some of the best legal strategies that can help you avoid a conviction.

It’s important to note that the input of an experienced lawyer plays a huge role in the successful application of these strategies. While they work, more often than not, you need an experienced DUI defense lawyer to help you mount a successful defense against DUI charges. Call Nash Law today at 615-NASH-LAW to schedule a consultation.

Challenging the Traffic Stop Based on Lack of Probable Cause

The first point of attack in your case should be the lawfulness of the DUI stop. The Fourth Amendment protects us from unlawful searches and seizures. As such, law enforcement officers should not stop you without reasonable suspicion. Moreover, the traffic stop leading to your DUI charge should follow the right procedures to ensure everything is above board.

With the above in mind, you can challenge aspects of the traffic stop using the following legal strategies:

Scrutinizing the Traffic Violation Claim

It’s also essential for your lawyer to examine the traffic violation for which law enforcement officers stopped you. Did you fail to indicate before turning? Did you run a red light? These and other traffic violations offer reasonable suspicion for law enforcement officers to pull you over.

The police should not initiate a stop arbitrarily based on your type of vehicle, the time you’re driving, or the location you’re driving through, as such factors may not offer reasonable suspicion. The officer should have an observable violation indicator to make the traffic stop.

With this in mind, it’s possible to contest the traffic violation that led to a traffic stop as not reasonable suspicion to be pulled over. A lack of reasonable suspicion for the officer to pull you over may offer grounds for suppressing some of the evidence the police collect or even dismissing your case.

Uncovering Procedural Errors the Police Make (such as Illegal Searches)

As mentioned above, the Fourth Amendment protects us against unreasonable searches and seizures. If the police searched your vehicle without your consent or reasonable suspicion, you argue for the suppression of the evidence emanating from the search.

If there are procedural errors committed, such as illegal searches, you can file a motion suppress the collected evidence (including breath, urine, and/or blood tests), thereby confirming the illegality of the search.

Violation of Miranda Rights

Similar to tactic of unearthing the procedural mistakes the police make during a traffic stop, your lawyer can use the violation of your Miranda rights during a traffic stop to suppress evidence statements made during questioning. You should be informed of your right to remain silent during the arrest.

Additionally, you should be informed of your right to an attorney. If you’re not informed, the admissibility of some of the evidence may be challenged, bolstering your case.

Challenging the Field Sobriety Tests

As a way to prove a driver’s intoxication, officers usually administer a physical field sobriety test, typically based on the three standardized tests the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has standardized. The officer may administer the one-le stand test, walk-and-turn test, or object-tracking with your eyes test.

However, the accuracy of the results of these tests tends to be subjective. Moreover, there are numerous factors that may affect one’s performance, resulting in a false-positive test result.

With the reliability of field sobriety tests in mind, you can challenge the test results by:

Proving Medical Affected the Test Results

There are medical conditions that mimic symptoms of being intoxicated, such as side effects of prescribed medicines, mental health issues, and physical conditions. You can prove that these factors, rather than alcohol impairment, led to a failure rather than alcohol intoxication.

Proving Cognitive and Environment Factors Affected the Test Results

Field test can be stressful to some people, impairing their cognitive function. This can lead to failed test, even though they’re not intoxicated. On the other hand, environmental conditions such as poor lighting, uncomfortable shoes or uncomfortable clothes can affect one’s performance during field sobriety test.

You can use cognitive factors and environmental conditions to bolster your defense against DUI charges.

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Challenging the Breathalyzer Test

Many officers use chemical breath tests to make DUI arrests. Breathalyzer tests is a tool law enforcement officer use to measure blood alcohol content. However, here too, you can challenge the validity of the test results.

Breathalyzer have an error rate ranging between .005% and .02%, which is significant enough to yield false positives. You can challenge DUI charges based on breathalyzer results in the following ways:

Proving Mouth Alcohol Affected the Results

Medical conditions such as Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) can push stomach contents such as alcohol into your mouth, resulting in a false test indicating high blood alcohol content. Other issues that may cause high alcohol reading include using alcohol-based breath fresheners and recently using mouthwash.

Poor Maintenance of the Breathalyzer

The calibration and maintenance of the device will influence its accuracy. You should investigate whether the state has calibrated and maintained the breathalyzer in strict adherence of state laws and manufacturer’s recommended protocol. Poorly maintained or calibrated devices may offer grounds for case dismissal of DUI charges.

Challenging the Blood Test

Aside from field sobriety testing and breathalyzer testing, many officers will also take the additional step of blood testing, which is considered more accurate. However, you can challenge blood tests by demonstrating procedural mistakes and inaccuracies.

Demonstrating Procedural Mistakes

You can challenge the validity of test by demonstrating that chain of custody—collection, storage, and transportation—could have altered the accuracy of the test results. If the evidence was handled improperly, this is a good defense against DUI charges.

Retesting the Sample for any Testing and Analysis Inaccuracies

Aside from chain of custody issues, you can challenge the validity of the blood test by requesting an independent retest. Equipment calibration inaccuracy might show up in retest results, bolstering your defense.

Challenging the Legality of DUI Checkpoints

If your DUI charges arose from a stop at DUI roadblock or checkpoint, you need to scrutinize if the checkpoint or roadblock operated in adherence of traffic laws. For instance, your lawyer needs to ensure it operates regularly, is clearly marked, and has a nondiscriminatory vehicle selection policy.

Fatigue Defense

In many cases, fatigue tends to yield behavioral characteristics similar to intoxication. Consequently, performing a field sobriety test while fatigued may produce a false positive, leading to a DUI charge. As such, you can use the fatigue defense to beat the DUI charge.

Necessity Defense

In certain cases, you can use your unique circumstances as defense for driving under the influence. For instance, if you had a medical emergency or avoiding serious harm, you could use that as your defense. However, you should have a compelling reason and evidence to support your case.

Negotiating and Plea Bargaining

Finally, in certain cases, it’s better to negotiate with the prosecutor an agreement where you plead guilty and avoid certain penalties if you’re found guilty in a trial. Based on the strength of the prosecutor’s case, you may negotiate to avoid the harshest penalties. However, you need an experienced attorney to help you negotiate a favorable plea deal regarding your DUI charges.

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Call Nash Law Today for Successful Defenses Against DUI Charges

At Nash Law, we understand the profound impact that DUI charges can have on your life. Challenging these charges effectively requires a deep understanding of the law, meticulous attention to detail, and strategic legal thinking.

Our experienced team is dedicated to exploring every possible defense, from questioning the validity of the traffic stop to scrutinizing the accuracy of breathalyzer results. We are committed to fighting for your rights and achieving the best possible outcome for your case.

If you or a loved one is facing DUI charges, contact Nash Law at 615-NASH-LAW for a consultation and let us provide the skilled representation you deserve.

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