Drunk driving charges seem pretty straightforward, except that there are some cases where the charges leave some room for interpretation. Although the specific wording of the law can be different in each state, there are several options for defense if you find yourself charged with driving under the influence of alcohol. Here are a few of the choices that you have to consider if you are facing charges.
Lack of Probable Cause
The arresting officer must have probable cause to stop you before he or she can administer a sobriety test. If your DUI attorney can show surveillance cameras or other footage that indicates that you were driving safely and responsibly, that may be enough to cast doubt on the presence of probable cause.
Questions About Test Accuracy
Most charges of driving under the influence are dependent on a blood alcohol test. If your attorney can show that the test was administered incorrectly, he or she can claim that the results are inaccurate. Some of the things that your attorney will look at for this defense include the officer's training, any potential mishandling of the tests or tampering with the equipment.
In addition to the equipment and the officer administering the test, your attorney may claim that the alcohol reading on the test was inaccurate because the alcohol was absorbed after you were stopped. Since alcohol can take time to reach your blood stream, your attorney can claim that any time elapsed between the traffic stop and the test provided an opportunity for your blood alcohol levels to increase.
Necessity or Extenuating Circumstances
In some situations, you can claim that you are not guilty by reason of necessity. In those situations, you would have to prove that you were driving under the influence due to another situation, such as what could happen if you were fleeing a home invasion.
In order to claim this type of defense, you'll have to be able to prove that you had no other options and the risks of driving under the influence were minimal as compared to the potential harms of the situation you were trying to escape. This same defense is applicable if you can prove that you were in a situation where you were forced to drive under the threat of bodily harm.
Improper Behavior by the Officer
One of the biggest things that your attorney will investigate is the officer's behavior during the traffic stop. If there is any reason to believe that the officer forced you or tricked you into driving, that is a solid defense in court. You will have to prove that you would not have otherwise driven the car had it not been for the officer's instruction.
If the officer harassed or threatened you, that should be addressed in court as well. And, your attorney will review the arrest record to ensure that everything was handled by the book. If there is any question about whether you were read your rights or your civil rights were violated, your attorney will formulate your defense based on that information.
If you are in a situation where you consumed alcohol without your knowledge, which could happen if you were at a party or other event and your drink was spiked, your attorney may claim that you were suffering from involuntary intoxication.
A drunk driving conviction can bring substantial fines, penalties and even the loss of your license for a period of time. With the right defense approach, you will have a better chance of saving thousands of dollars in fines and lasting legal issues. Consider reaching out to a DUI attorney right away after your arrest to protect yourself right from the start.