The worst thing you can do after drinking alcohol or ingesting another mind-altering substance, such as illegal narcotics, is to operate a vehicle. If you are stopped by law enforcement in an inebriated condition, you will almost certainly be charged with driving under the influence (DUI). In some states the charge might be called driving while intoxicated (DWI) or operating under the influence (OUI).
Whatever term is used, these charges are extremely serious and you will need an experienced criminal defense attorney to defend you in court. This article looks at some of the most common defense strategies lawyers use to defend clients charged with a DUI.
If you are stopped for suspicion of a DUI, the officer may ask you to perform certain field sobriety tests. If you agree to perform the tests and the officer determines that you have failed them, then the tests can be used against you at your criminal trial. The process typically consists of three separate tests: a horizontal eye movement test, a walk-and-turn test, and a one-legged stand test.
Although field sobriety tests are a standard means of determining whether a driver is inebriated, they are not foolproof. Your attorney can challenge any test results by claiming that they could have given false results. Also, there are strict rules concerning how the officer is expected to conduct the tests. If the officer did not follow proper procedure, the results could be inadmissible in court.
Also, if you have a physical condition that caused you to fail any of the tests, your attorney can use that as a defense.
A breathalyzer test measures the amount of alcohol in your blood. If you take the test and fail it, that will be used against you in court. An experienced attorney, however, will know that breathalyzer tests are often inaccurate and that many things other than the amount of alcohol in your system can affect the results. For instance, certain foods, such as protein bars, as well as some medications and certain mouthwashes, can affect the test and give a false reading.
The law requires any law enforcement officer who stops you to have a "reasonable suspicion" that a crime is being committed. If your attorney can show that the arresting officer did not have a reasonable suspicion that you were driving under the influence, they might be able to have the stop declared illegal under the law.
A DUI charge is an extremely serious offense and you will need expert legal counsel to defend yourself. To learn more, consult a criminal defense law firm like Cohen Law Offices, LLC.Share