Defending a DUI/DWI charge
Validity of a DUI / DWI Checkpoint
If you have been arrested at a DUI/DWI check point, you can challenge the constitutional validity of the DUI/DWI check point. The Supreme Court has prescribed the requirements for a DUI/DWI check point to be considered constitutionally valid. If the DUI/DWI check point is not constitutionally valid, the DUI/DWI arrest itself will be invalid.
Field Sobriety Tests
The first evidence against you will be the results of the field sobriety tests. The police will claim that these tests are scientifically proven. The truth is that there is no scientific evidence to prove that the results of these tests are an accurate indicator of whether or not a person is intoxicated. Many factors can affect the results of these tests. For example, the one legged stand is a common field sobriety test administered by police departments across the United States. An old person or someone with a health problem may not be able to perform this test. If the road is slippery, even a sober person can slip and fall while performing this test. The officer administering the test is judge, jury and executioner – he will administer the test and also determine whether you pass or fail.
Breath Analyzer Test
You can challenge the results of the breath analyzer test. The result is not an accurate indicator of a person’s blood alcohol concentration. You need to breathe into the equipment for a reading. If you have a breathing ailment, you may not be in a position to breathe into the equipment with sufficient force. The maintenance and calibration of the equipment also influence the accuracy of the results. The training of the officer in using the breath analyzer is also a key factor.
Depending on your state law, you will be asked to submit to a blood test or a urine test. The timing of the test is very important. Your blood alcohol concentration at the time you were driving must be 0.08% or more. The result will indicate your blood alcohol concentration at the time of the test and not when you were stopped on the suspicion of DUI/DWI. How the test is conducted can also influence the results. These tests must be conducted according to prescribed methods and must be carried out at a laboratory approved by the government.
Based on the specific circumstances of your case, there may be other defenses available. These include:
- Necessity – You had to drive in order to prevent a great evil from happening.
- Entrapment – You would not have driven because you knew you were under the influence but a police officer requested or compelled you to drive drunk.
- Duress – You had to drive to prevent serious injury or death.
- Involuntary intoxication – Your drink was spiked without your knowledge.
- Mistake of fact – You were under the honest belief that you were not intoxicated. For example you believed that since a long time had passed since you consumed alcohol, the effect would have worn off by the time you were driving.
- Mistaken identity – You were actually not driving or you were at home when the offence occurred.
- Police Actions – The police have to follow certain rules when the stop you. If you have been arrested but the police did not follow these rules, you can use it as a defense.
An experienced DUI/DWI lawyer can review your case and determine the available defenses.