What are the most successful and common DUI defenses?
A DUI Law Firm that handles DUI cases on a frequent basis will understand the unique defenses that can be used in these cases. Depending on the facts of your particular case, one or more of these defenses may be available to you. The most common DUI defenses that are successfully used by DUI lawyers are:
-Challenges to police probable cause for the initial stop.
-Attacks against the accuracy of the blood or breath tests.
-The rising blood alcohol level defense.
There are other defenses that can be used in DUI cases, but these are by far the most common successfully used defenses and are very familiar to lawyers handling DUI cases.
Challenging police probable cause.
Everyone is protected by a Constitutional doctrine that says the police must have probable cause to believe a crime is being committed if they want to detain someone. This means the police must have a good faith, reasonable belief based on articulatable reasons to form a belief that a crime is being committed. For most DUI cases, this crime is a violation of a vehicle code statute, such as speeding, or lane straddling (swerving between lanes.)
Many times in DUI cases, the police do not have articulatable reasons to believe a crime is actually occurring, but they stop drivers on a “hunch” that the driver is doing something wrong. For example, police watch a driver for a brief time and determine they are swerving or lane straddling and decide to pull them over.
A DUI lawyer who is familiar with DUI case law (such as US v. Colin) understands a situation like the one described can be fought successfully in court. In the Colin case, it was held that police must follow a driver for a substantial period of time before they can have enough “articulatble reasons” to believe a crime is occurring. In that case, police followed a driver for a mere 8 seconds before deciding he was swerving in his lane. Based on the ruling of the court, the police stop of the driver was determined to be unconstitutional, and the case against the driver had to be dropped.
The rising blood alcohol level defense.
In cases where there is blood or breath evidence showing the driver’s blood alcohol level is above 0.08% at the time of the test, a lawyer who is familiar with the “rising blood alcohol level defense” might argue that at the time of driving, the driver’s blood alcohol level was below 0.08% and later rose to above 0.08%. It is common experience of anyone who has consumed alcohol to experience a rising blood alcohol level as the alcohol they drank gets absorbed into their blood. You don’t feel the effects of a drink right away, and you may not be above the legal limit until after the police stop you and take you to the station for testing.
The rising blood alcohol level defense is a complex defense that involves a keen understanding of the scientific and physiological factors involved. But it is a very common DUI defense and one your lawyer should be familiar with.
Attacks on the accuracy of blood or breath testing.
The scientific evidence gathered in DUI cases scares many criminal defense lawyers. At first glance, the evidence looks highly accurate because it is gathered on sensitive scientific machines. Lawyers who handle DUI cases regularly understand the blood and breath evidence in DUI cases is actually very susceptible to challenge. It is the highly sensitive nature of the tests done in DUI cases that is the greatest undoing to the blood and breath evidence. Because the tests are so sensitive, EVERY step has to be completely followed to the letter… and many police agencies simply do not each and EVERY step properly. Your experienced DUI lawyer will know what to look for in the scientific evidence to see if there is a defense that can be argued attacking the accuracy of the blood or breath tests.