The Los Angeles DUI Lawyer Pros 10 Effective DUI Defense Options
Most people have the belief that when they’re pulled over and arrested for DUI that there is no chance of possibly beating the DUI charges. The good news is law enforcement officers have to follow certain specific laws and protocols in order to amass the correct evidence to convict you for DUI. Are you aware that there are many possible grounds we can utilize to challenge the evidence and methods the police officer used to arrest you? Let’s talk about the 10 effective DUI strategy defense options we can use for your benefit.
1) Challenging the legality DUI stops made outside of an established DUI checkpoint.
Are you aware that law-enforcement officers do not have the right to pull you over without probable cause? Law-enforcement officers must establish a “reasonable suspicion” that a criminal activity is occurring or has occurred. If the police officer’s suspicion meets the standards within the protocols they are required by law to follow then a police officer does have the right to detain you and conduct a very limited investigation. If the police officer suspects that you could be driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol they may administer some different DUI field sobriety tests or make other attempts to establish if there is probable cause to make a DUI arrest.
Several DUI charges are the result of common legal infractions like these below:
- If you are traveling at a speed above the listed speed limit
- Driving erratically and/or weaving dangerously in and around traffic
- “Tailgating” the car in front of you
- Driving your vehicle with burned out headlights or taillights or turn signals
- Driving in the emergency lane or shoulder
- Not properly observing traffic lights
- Making a wrong turn on a road or highway
- Driving extra carefully or slowly on the side of the road or highway
Common sense dictates that these are all very legitimate reasons for police officers to make traffic stops. But more importantly, is an officer must articulate a clear, reasonable cause for pulling you over for the traffic stop to be legal. Police officers also must document this in their incident report when they make a DUI arrest. If the police officer pulled you over and the traffic stop resulted in a DUI arrest and was found not to be legal, evidence the officer collected during the process of the DUI arrest and investigation would not be admissible in a court of law. The court or judge would most likely deem the evidence invalid and your case would be thrown out of court. Prosecutors would not be able to make it effective case against you and the DUI charges against you would most likely be dropped.
2) Challenging the suspicion that you were under the influence
When a police officer pulls you over on suspicion of DUI. The law enforcement official will take notice of your appearance and your behavior while he or she is questioning you and/or examining your actions and reactions. The police officer may note that they could smell drugs or alcohol or observe red bloodshot eyes or maybe they could note slurred speech or poor motor functions on your part. All of these observations a law-enforcement official may note and report after your DUI arrest. Whatever the traits they observe and consider as intoxication are not necessary related to drinking alcohol or ingesting illicit drugs or prescription medications. Other medical conditions could very well cause some of these factors and may lead to law-enforcement officials to believe that you could be under the influence of alcohol and or another illicit substance of prescription medication, and these could include:
- Specific medical condition(s)
- Side effects of medication that have been prescribed by your doctor or over the counter medications like cold and flu medications
- Products like mouthwash that can be purchased over the counter also
Each one of these three scenarios could be considered to possibly show up as intoxication symptoms related to drug intoxication, prescription medications or alcohol ingestion. Often times we can discredit the fact that any of these signs were present at the time of you DUI arrest and dispute the officers DUI arrest report. We also can subpoena footage from dashboard cameras that may not match up with what has been written in a DUI arrest report filed by the arresting officer. Videos from police holding areas may also be very valuable in showing that you were not acting intoxicated and could contradict the testimony of the police officers observations at the time of you DUI arrest and booking.
3) Challenging the effectiveness of field sobriety tests.
For years police officers have commonly used field sobriety test as a way to identify individuals who could possibly be intoxicated or under the influence of prescription or illicit drugs. The problem for police officers is evidence does exist that the specific assessments have shown to be very poor indicators to assess someone’s level of alcohol and drug intoxication.
Field sobriety tests primarily assess one’s ability to recite the alphabet backwards, touch one’s nose and have proven to be very unreliable in establishing a person’s level of impairment or intoxication. Many of these tests are considered to be very unreliable. Test such as the one leg stand, the walking turn around and horizontal horizontal gaze nystagmus assessment are all field sobriety tests that have been demonstrated to be very flawed in several DUI cases.
Listed below are some potential factors that could possibly lead someone to perform poorly wow the officer administers fields Friday tests:
- Being overweight or having a one or more physical ailments
- Poor weather conditions and/or improper footing
- Restrictive clothing or unstable footwear (high heels for example)
- People who have poor coordination
The truth is there are several factors that could hinder one’s ability to perform a field sobriety test(s). We must take into consideration that most of these assessments are extremely unreliable as proper indicators of intoxication and/or impairment. As a result of this unreliability it is very possible to discredit the police officers evidence collected during their administration of the field sobriety test. However, there is no guarantee that if we are able to discredit the field sobriety test(s) administered to you by the police officer your case will be dismissed. It could however help us to reduce the overall amount of evidence the police officers and prosecutors collected against you and could cause issues of credibility for the prosecution in seeking a DUI conviction.
4) Blood alcohol concentration results from the use of a Breathalyzer can be challenged.
Blood alcohol concentration results from a Breathalyzer test can be discounted the same way field sobriety tests can. Understand that a Breathalyzer is a machine/device that has to be calibrated properly in order to give accurate blood alcohol concentration readings/results. Even the slightest mistake in calibrating the Breathalyzer device could mean the difference between a .07 and a .09 blood alcohol concentration reading. If you are the person in this situation, that slight difference could mean a DUI arrest and/or conviction. There are several reasons why Breathalyzer devices may not work properly and give an accurate blood alcohol concentration reading and some of these included are below:
- Improper maintenance- All Breathalyzer devices have to be properly maintained and calibrated in order for them to give an accurate result and reading. If proper and regular maintenance are not kept up to date then the Breathalyzer device could erroneously indicate that a person has an elevated blood alcohol concentration.
- Equipment malfunction- Even the best equipment can fail if the maintenance and calibration is not kept up to date. Several studies have shown that Breathalyzer devices can fluctuate and cause inaccurate readings to occur.
- User error– Since a Breathalyzer is a device that must be used correctly an inexperienced or careless user may make serious errors when using the device to establish accurate blood alcohol concentration readings.
- Health conditions- Naturally occurring bodily substances can be mistaken for alcohol ingestion and Breathalyzer devices are not sophisticated enough to pick up on these differences.
- Use of over-the-counter products- Oral hygiene products and mouthwash could cause a false result and indicate an elevated blood alcohol concentration reading. Again, since these devices cannot make the distinction between over the counter products that contain alcohol and ingestion of alcohol there is a potential for a false reading.
These are just some of the most common DUI strategies that we can use in your defense. There are many others and we could use to effectively call into question any breathalyzer result by an expert witness who has much more experience with how these devices operate and their potential for providing police officers with inaccurate readings.
5) Challenge blood alcohol concentration results from blood tests
In addition to Breathalyzer tests; blood tests are also used to establish a person’s blood alcohol concentration. These tests are typically conducted at a medical facility or specific area located in a police station. Mobile DUI checkpoint vehicles also have areas where these test can be conducted.
Blood test are typically regarded as the most reliable method of establishing accurate blood alcohol concentration levels for police officers. However, even when blood is drawn from an alleged drunk driver and tested at the laboratory there is a possibility for errors to occur from this test resulting in false positives.
Potential issues that may cause a false positive reading could include.
- Unqualified or inexperienced laboratory analysis– Every state has strict laws regarding people who can do this type of work and they must receive specific training and obtain specific licenses also to do this type of work. If these people fail to stay up to date on mandatory training or fail to renew any specific licenses needed to perform this work if could open the door for to contest the accuracy of your blood alcohol concentration reading.
- Poorly maintained and/or outdated equipment- Anytime you’re taking and analyzing blood it’s obviously a precise procedure. Even if the person using equipment is qualified there could be old or poorly kept equipment that could result in an inaccuracy. This could cause an erroneous blood alcohol concentration reading.
- Chain of custody issue- From the time the blood is drawn from your body it is very important that this blood be handled within proper protocols. It must be stored and transferred according to establish protocols. Expert witnesses we have access to or able to often times show that a breakdown of chain of custody protocols has occurred during the testing process of your blood sample.
If we were able to successfully challenge the blood test your case would almost surely be a dismissal. Taking into consideration the blood alcohol concentration results from a blood test is the strongest evidence that a prosecutor can present to the court makes it almost a sure dismissal if this evidence is discredited.
6) Proving that the arrest was illegal at the DUI checkpoint
DUI checkpoints draw a lot of controversy throughout all the 50 states. Over the years many cases questioning the constitutionality of DUI checkpoints have made their way through the court systems throughout the United States with courts trying to assess and determine if the checkpoints are an infringement of the 4th amendment rights of American citizens under the constitution. Currently only 30 states in the United States actually use DUI checkpoints.
The Supreme Court however has upheld the legality of DUI checkpoints and the circumstances of which law-enforcement checkpoints have to be set up under certain protocols and follow certain laws. If these laws and protocols are not followed a traffic stop could be considered illegal. The following requirements must be adhered to regarding a DUI checkpoint set up by local law-enforcement officials:
- All drivers who pass through the checkpoint must be stopped for a DUI inspection. Police officers do not have the right to conduct random stops.
- Law enforcement agencies must provide adequate notice of the roadblock ahead. They also must provide appropriately lighting at the roadblock area and must provide safety for all of the drivers who go through the checkpoint.
- The law-enforcement officials must observe constitutional privacy rights during the entire stop.
If any of the rules listed were not followed during a stop at a DUI checkpoint you would have a good argument as to the legality of DUI stop and arrest. If it is found that these provisions are not followed properly your DUI charge would typically be dismissed considering the evidence amassed against you would be in inadmissible in a court Law
7) Police officer’s failure to Mirandize properly.
In the United States of America it is all law-enforcement official’s job to inform every American of your rights. Once a law-enforcement official takes you into custody it’s his or her job to inform you that you are not required to make any incriminating statements against yourself. They are also required to inform you that what you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. Most importantly, arresting officers have to inform you that you have a right to an attorney.
If you’re arresting lawn enforcement official does not Mirandize you properly under the law. Any and all evidence collected in the course of your DUI arrest may be deemed inadmissible by a the judge hearing your DUI case in court. If this was to happen the prosecution would have no evidence against you and your DUI arrest and charges would most likely receive a dismissal.
8) Failure to issue an implied consent warning from arresting officer.
The implied consent warning law states that if a law-enforcement official has reason to believe that you are intoxicated or too impaired to drive your vehicle then he or she must request that you take a blood alcohol concentration Breathalyzer test. If he or she is to demand that you take this test without asking for your consent to participate in this test it would be a violation of the implied consent laws and all charges could be dropped.
If the police officer fails to issue you the implied consent warning during the course of your DUI arrest then any and all evidence that is collected after that point could be ruled inadmissible by the judge in a court of law. Remember a chemical blood alcohol concentration test is considered to be the most accurate form of evidence for prosecutors to use against you in DUI court. If this evidence were to be ruled in admissible in court by the judge you would most likely receive a total dismissal of your DUI charges.
9) Racial profiling or other police misconduct
Did you know? It is illegal for police officers to racially profile and single our certain or all minorities for arrest. Sadly, in America today it is a fact that police officers do racially profile and single out minorities for arrest.
If you suspect that you were pulled over and arrested on the suspicion of DUI based on your race you have a real opportunity to avoid punishment under DUI laws. If were able to demonstrate in a court that your stop was motivated by race it would open up the possibility for us to question the arresting officers motives as to why you were pulled over and arrested.
10) Presenting the “rising blood alcohol content” argument.
Alcohol is primarily absorbed through your small intestine and it takes a significant amount of time for the bloodstream to absorb the alcohol into your body. Unfortunately, people are not well educated of this and don’t understand how long it takes for alcohol to actually be absorbed into your body through your small intestine, causing impairment. Researchers have taught us that your body does not achieve peak intoxication until approximately 30-90 minutes after your last alcoholic drink is consumed.
So what does this mean? Let’s say you were pulled over and arrested for DUI between 30 and 90 minutes after your last alcoholic drink was consumed. If you were to immediately get in your car and drive you could make the argument that your blood alcohol concentration was lower than .08 when you were driving as long as you were pulled over within that 30 to 90 minute window. Keep in mind if a breathalyzer test was conducted 45 minutes after you are pulled over and your blood alcohol concentration is over .15 you would probably not have an argument that you were not impaired while driving. On the other hand, if you were pulled over and your Breathalyzer blood concentration content was conducted 60 minutes after your first drink and your blood alcohol concentration was .08 then there’s a real possibility you would not be legally drunk at the time you were driving. The key thing to remember here is when you actually had your last drink. If you finished a drink, got right in your car and were pulled over in 5 minutes and conducted a Breathalyzer 60 minutes later, you could make the argument that you were not impaired while you were actually behind the wheel. Again, the lower your blood alcohol concentration is at the time of your test will be your best chance at making the case that you were not .08 or greater while you were actually behind the wheel driving.