Common DUI Defense Strategies
A DUI can take your freedom, driving privileges, money, and peace of mind away from you for a significant period of time. Depending on your prior offenses and the nature of your current DUI charge, you’re looking at years behind bars, thousands of dollars in fines, and months or years without a license.
Not only that, but your reputation could suffer immensely as a result of your DUI charge, let alone a conviction. Society tends to look down upon DUI offenders, placing barriers on their employment, education, loans, and more. With this in mind, it is critical to get an idea of your defense options. It may appear as if the odds are stacked against you and there is no way out of your accusations, but after reviewing the common DUI defenses below, you may think otherwise:
Improper stop by police: Without reasonable suspicion, the police cannot legally pull you over. Examples of things that could create reasonable suspicion include weaving and swerving, speeding, failing to use turn signals, and driving without headlights on. If your actions were perfectly legal before you got pulled over for DUI, then your lawyer could argue that your traffic stop was improper.
Failure to follow field sobriety test protocols: The Standardized Field Sobriety Test (SFST) is a battery of three tests that evaluate different functions indicating impairment. The SFST is composed of the horizontal gaze nystagmus, one-leg stand, and walk-and-turn tests, all of which can be inaccurate and unreliable, as a result. Inaccuracies tend to stem from police officers’ actions and words. For instance, an officer may give incorrect instructions, speak too fast, and violate other protocols, resulting in a false perception of intoxication.
Mishandling of blood samples: DUI suspects are often required to give blood samples in custody. Blood samples are taken to measure a person’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC), but if these samples are not handled or stored properly, a DUI case could be thrown out altogether. If a lab technician mislabels your blood samples or stores them in incorrect temperatures, then your lawyer can use these flaws to your advantage.
False-positive breathalyzer test: Breathalyzer tests cannot be trusted for various reasons. These machines could be improperly calibrated, outdated, and could detect “alcohol” from non-alcoholic sources. What we mean by this is a person could simply burp, pop in a breath mint, or suffer from underlying health conditions (i.e., GERD) that contribute to false-positive breath test results. Just because alcohol is detected doesn’t mean it is from alcoholic beverages.
Violation of Miranda Rights: Before custodial interrogation takes place, the police must read your Miranda Warning. In other words, the police cannot question you after your arrest without first giving your Miranda Warning. The police may only ask for your ID, registration, and proof of insurance without reading your Miranda Warning, but if they attempt to question you regardless of these rules, your lawyer could help get your DUI case dropped.
Illegal search and seizure: Your Fourth Amendment rights protect you from unreasonable search and seizure, so if the police search you and/or your vehicle without a warrant under certain circumstances, any evidence obtained could be inadmissible in court. There are other circumstances in which warrantless searches are allowed, and your lawyer can help explain these in further detail.
Inconsistent/unreliable testimony by police: Believe it or not, some DUI cases could get dismissed if an officer’s testimony doesn’t match up with their police report and other DUI evidence. If an officer reported that you appeared very intoxicated when you walked out of a shopping center and got into your vehicle afterward, but later testifies that you came out of a bar with your friends and drove your friend’s vehicle home, a judge may reconsider the case altogether. When a police officer’s reliability comes into question, then your chances of getting reduced or dismissed charges may increase.
Our Northwest Arkansas attorneys are well aware of the high stakes in your case. After reviewing the details that lead to your DUI charges (or “DWI” charges, as used in Arkansas statutes), we can build a hard-hitting defense strategy on your behalf. Don’t let another minute go by without contacting us at (479) 235-4600! The sooner you call, the sooner we can begin fighting for your freedom.