Common Defenses Against DUI Charges
If you are charged with driving under the influence, a conviction can lead to the loss of your driving privileges and other significant penalties. With a good attorney by your side, however, you can successfully defend yourself against this accusation. The most common defenses involve challenging the evidence presented.
The Improper Stop Defense
It’s not unknown for the police to stop cars without the requisite reasonable suspicion that a crime has been or is in the process of being committed. An improper stop constitutes a violation of your Fourth Amendment rights. If you can show that the stop was inappropriate, all evidence gathered during the stop will become unusable. A Morristown criminal defense lawyer can determine if your rights were violated.
Challenging the Field Sobriety Test
You may have been subjected to an improperly administered or inaccurate field sobriety test. If this has happened, you can challenge the validity of your DUI arrest. Fairly frequently, defendants challenge the HGN test, the test where the officer shines a light in the eyes and observes eye movements. Believe it or not, field sobriety tests are based more on tradition than research. This makes it relatively easy to challenge these tests in court. A Morristown DUI lawyer can advise if this is the right defense for you.
Challenging the Breathalyzer Evidence
Your attorney may choose to challenge the results of your on-scene Breathalyzer test. It is not unknown for inexperienced officers to make mistakes while using a Breathalyzer. Vomiting can warp the results of any such test. Additionally, one may reasonably ask if the Breathalyzer received appropriate calibration and maintenance.
Challenging a Blood Test’s Chain of Custody
In this legal strategy, the DUI attorney questions the execution of a blood test and how the blood sample was handled. Police and testing personnel must follow strict procedures when processing these samples. Supposing these procedures were not followed, the blood sample reading may not stand up in court.
Claiming Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) Disparity
This is when the defense claims the defendant’s BAC was under the allowable legal limit while the defendant was driving but rose past the limit between the time of the stop and the time of the BAC test. This can happen because consumed alcohol takes time to become fully absorbed into one’s system.
Impropriety on the Part of Police
Even if you think you might have been a bit inebriated when you were pulled over, you shouldn’t give up hope on defeating the charge. Just because you were drinking, that doesn’t mean you were breaking the law. Furthermore, every defendant automatically enjoys a presumption of innocence. It is incumbent on the prosecution to proactively prove your guilt using evidence. If the evidence isn’t there, you are entitled to an acquittal. By hiring a Morristown criminal defense lawyer, you can ensure you are given access to this or any other valid legal defense.
Though less common, the affirmative DUI defense is not unknown. In this type of defense, you don’t directly challenge the evidence. Instead, you present mitigating factors that make the prosecution’s evidence irrelevant or inapplicable. Affirmative DUI defenses include:
- The Necessity Defense. This is when the defendant was forced to drive to stop a greater evil from occurring. For example, the defendant may have been driving to save someone’s life or deliver an injured person to the emergency room.
- The Entrapment Defense. There have been isolated cases in which officers have encouraged or pressured people to drive while intoxicated. Fortunately, the rise of cell phone cameras has shined a light on this behavior and other types of police misconduct.
- The Mistake of Fact Defense. It may be possible for people to drive with the honest belief that they are not intoxicated. As an example, someone may be impaired due to an unforeseen interaction between prescription medications.
Fight the Charge
Having the assistance of an experienced New Jersey criminal defense attorney can vastly increase your chances of beating a drunk driving charge. To get the legal help you need in Morristown, contact Gregg Wisotsky today at (973) 898-0161.
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