Search the Internet or pick up the local Yellow Pages and you are likely to see hundreds of Websites and advertisements for law firms defending people charged with drunk driving or driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs or alcohol. With so many defense attorneys each saying they are the most effective, what should you believe.
This blog post, I will discuss the foundations of some of the most successful defense strategies that Rosenstein Law Group often employs when protecting our clients’ rights.
Reasonable suspicion for a DUI? Or just bad driving?
Every DUI traffic stop begins with the police witnessing a driver behaving poorly. Police need to have probable cause for suspecting the driver may be intoxicated. At the traffic stop, police need to determine whether to administer a field sobriety test and, subsequently, breathalyzer test to determine the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level. Police are often quick to overlook the fact that some drivers may, indeed, be guilty of violating traffic laws and deserve a ticket, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are intoxicated. Challenging police assumptions about “probable cause” for the traffic stop is often an effective strategy to get DUI charges dismissed or reduced to a traffic violation.
Police often mistake symptoms of an illness with “proof“ of being drunk
At the traffic stop, police observe the driver’s demeanor and behaviors. Frequently, drivers who suffer the ill effects of a cold, flu or even hay fever may exhibit the same symptoms of someone who has been drinking excessively.
Challenging the police officer‘s assumptions about the field sobriety test
Even on our best days, there may be environmental, emotional or physical factors that inhibit our balance or hand-eye coordination. The loud rush of nearby traffic may disorient us as we try to walk a straight line. Fatigue may inhibit our ability to speak coherently or react appropriately to questions. While these may be good reasons for getting out from behind the wheel, it doesn’t mean we are intoxicated.
Alcohol still on the breath doesn‘t equate to alcohol in the system
Police may forget that the smell of alcohol on a driver’s breath is not proof-positive that a person is legally over the BAC limit for driving. Remember, it is not illegal in Arizona to have a drink before driving. It IS illegal, however, to drive while impaired by a BAC level above .08 percent. Just because a police officer smells beer or whiskey on the driver’s breath, it does not cause for automatically administering a breathalyzer, blood or urine test to determine BAC.
Remember: There is ALWAYS a defense strategy
These are just a few of the defense strategies that are possible when fighting aggressively to protect your rights in DUI charges. Every case is different and must be reviewed against its own set of circumstances. To learn more, please visit our DUI defense pages on our website.