Fighting a DUI Arrest: The Basics
If you have recently been pulled over and arrested for driving under the influence, you might feel like fighting the charge does you no good. However, just because you were arrested for a DUI, even if you have failed the breath test, that does not automatically mean you'll get convicted. There are many ways to fight these charges if you reach out to a DUI lawyer right away.
You Can Fight DUI Checkpoint Arrests
The laws surrounding DUI checkpoints vary some by state, but the general rules all remain the same. It is in your best interest as a driver to familiarize yourself with the laws of DUI checkpoints in your state and to pay close attention to the details of what happens if you approach one.
For example, while you are required to produce your license, registration, and proof of insurance when stopped at a DUI checkpoint, you are not required to answer any questions asked of you. The police will often ask seemingly innocent questions, including things about where you have been, what you have been doing, and where you are headed. You have the legal right to respectfully decline to answer any of these questions.
Additionally, sometimes DUI checkpoints aren't handled in the proper manner. There must be a discernable pattern to the vehicles that the police are stopping and questioning during a checkpoint. If the checkpoint is holding up traffic and causing significant delays, some states also consider that a hindrance.
Field Sobriety Tests Aren't Always Reliable
If you failed a field sobriety test, and that failure led to your arrest, your DUI lawyer may be able to fight the arrest on the grounds that the field sobriety test is unreliable. Because field sobriety tests depend on the individual's balance and coordination, those with medical conditions that affect these skills may fail a sobriety test despite being completely sober. If you can prove that you have a condition that affects your balance or your coordination, you may be able to fight the test.
Additionally, the way that the test is conducted can also be a factor. Being asked to walk a straight line or stand on one foot on uneven, rocky, or unstable ground can lead to failure. The same holds true if you are not given adequate instructions to perform each task.
Often, your DUI lawyer will request a copy of the dash or body camera footage of your field sobriety test to analyze it, and he or she may also investigate the area where the test was conducted to see if there are any environmental factors that could have affected the outcome.
Breath and Blood Alcohol Tests Are Not Guaranteed
Breath test machines must be tested, calibrated, and maintained on a regular basis. If the test device has not been properly cared for, that can lead to a case dismissal due to unreliable results. Your lawyer can ask for the maintenance logs for the device, and he or she can also ask to have the device tested as part of your case.
Additionally, the timing of when a breath or blood alcohol test is conducted can also call the results into question. For example, if you were pulled over by an officer and interrogated, field-tested, and then not given the breathalyzer for over an hour, your attorney can argue that you were not over the legal limit at the time you were stopped, and that the delay on the scene led to further alcohol absorption in your bloodstream.
The same argument can often be made for blood alcohol results. Depending on the amount of time elapsed before your blood alcohol test was taken, you may be able to have the results dismissed due to the time elapsing enough that it altered the results from what it would have been while you were behind the wheel.
Reach out to a DUI lawyer right away to start building a case.