Driving under the influence (DUI) is a crime in the United States. Whether it’s a misdemeanor or a felony depends on the case. For instance, if it’s your first DUI offense, you might get a misdemeanor charge. However, you may have been charged before or an injury to a third party may add to your case. In that case, you may get a felony charge.
If you’ve been charged with DUI, you will need a DUI (Driving Under Influence) lawyer. Experienced DUI lawyers have three main ways to attack the charges against you.
They can argue that:
- You were not really drunk.
- Your driving wasn’t really affected.
- You were not arrested in line with the proper DUI guidelines.
It’s Not as Bad as You Think
Any seasoned drug crimes defense attorney will tell you that charges do not equal a sentence. As long as a sentence has not been passed, you can still avoid the big ones, such as massive fines, lengthy jail sentences, or losing your license. With a strong plan to attack the charges, you could even walk free. In any case, let’s look into the best ways a drug charges attorney will defend you.
How Can A DUI (Driving Under Influence) Lawyer Defend You?
Here are some good arguments your DUI lawyer can use to attack the charges against you.
Physical Signs of Influence Do Not Equal DUI
A prosecutor might argue you were driving under the influence by pointing to physical signs that you were drunk. These signs often include:
- Slurred speech
- Red and moist eyes
- A wavering gait
- The smell of alcohol on your breath
All these signs are listed in documents like Form 5.2.5, which law enforcers like the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) use.
However, showing these signs does not prove you were driving while drunk. If your DUI attorney is skilled, they can argue for other known causes of such signs.
For instance, the Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer can show that what people see as the smell of alcohol really comes from things like hops and malt. These things are found in both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. They can also argue that you were fatigued and irritated in the eyes (or both), as these can explain red eyes and an unsteady gait.
Challenging the Accuracy of Field Sobriety Tests
The results of a Field Sobriety Test (FST) are crucial evidence that your prosecutor will almost surely bring to back up his charges. Your drug charges attorney can attack this in three main ways.
Firstly, they can point to bias among the relevant “experts.” Crucially, it’s the arresting officer, DUI criminalist, and prosecutors who often rely on FSTs. And it’s no surprise that they will almost always bring back results that show you performed poorly in the tests.
The second way is to point to confounding factors in the tests, such as:
- Flat feet
- Your physical coordination
- Uncomfortable clothes
These and other factors can cause false positives (or negatives, depending on term usage) in these tests.
Lastly, your drug crimes defense attorney can attack the very accuracy of the FSTs. Think of it as a structural weakness case against FSTs. Claims about the accuracy of the test assume that it includes the standard three-prong test:
- The Walk-and-turn test
- The Horizontal Nystagmus test
- The One-leg-up test
These tests are under the NHTSA’s (National Highway Transport Safety Administration) direction and are supposed to be 77% accurate. However, law enforcement agents running the tests often lack experience and are not properly trained. They may thus fail to take crucial facts into account. This will ruin the accuracy of the test and give your lawyer some legal firepower.
Bad Driving Is No Necessary Sign of Drunk Driving
The most obvious reason an officer can pull you over in a DUI instance is bad driving. And at the hearing, the prosecutor will surely have the officer testify that your driving pattern showed signs of you being drunk.
Your DUI attorney can attack this by pointing out that bad driving has several other causes besides alcohol. In fact, bad driving patterns only show DUI 35% of the time. For instance, there may have been a brief motor equipment failure. Your lawyer can also get the officer to admit that most traffic violations are not caused by drunk driving.
Questioning the Officer’s Observation
The law demands that an officer perform a full 15-minute viewing before they start the breath test. However, most officers don’t do this. They focus, instead, on doing paperwork and setting up the machine for the breath test. If your DUI (Driving Under Influence) attorney points out that the arresting officer failed to do the complete scrutiny, they can call the breath test results into question. They might even destroy the whole DUI case.
The Appeal to “Mouth Alcohol”
An officer has to observe you for 15 minutes before running a DUI breath test. This time ensures that you do not take in anything that contains alcohol, such as liquid medicines, drinks, or mouthwash.
In addition, they must also make sure you don’t throw up or belch. These (and other such acts) will bring up the smell of any alcohol from your stomach to your mouth. We call this “residual mouth alcohol,” and it can ruin a DUI breath test.
Now, the gauging of “deep lung air” is crucial for the accuracy of DUI breathalyzers. However, if there is alcohol in the mouth when you blow into the device, it will mix with lung air. This will cause your blood alcohol content to register more than it really is. This is a tried and true tactic that your drug crimes defense attorney can use to challenge the prosecutor’s case and defend your innocence.
A Word From Wyoming Criminal Defense Experts
The best defense against a DUI case is to not drive under the influence in the first place. However, in case you do, you must find a good and seasoned DUI (Driving Under Influence) attorney to defend you.
Your DUI attorney should believe that you are not limited to the wrongdoing you once did and that you are much better than one inappropriate act.
If you have been charged with a DUI, you are probably fearing how to handle the situation. Rather than doing it alone, seek the help of trusted DUI attorneys who believe in your case.
The test of a skilled and seasoned defense lawyer is their smarts. They must be able to find solid ways to attack all charges against you and rebut them. And if they do their job right, you will walk away with few or no penalties.
After all, you can assume the officers involved with your case will be backed by support from the police association if you try to fight the accusation.