A drunk driving conviction can have serious ramifications. It can threaten you with jail or prison time, strip you of your ability to drive, and render it hard to find new employment. These sorts of criminal allegations can even be used against you in a family law case, such as by utilizing it to show a substantial change in circumstances thereby warranting a custody modification. In other words, a DUI conviction can even threaten the amount of time that you get to spend with your child.
With so much on the line, you owe it to yourself to craft the strongest criminal defense possible. But how do you go about doing that?
Common DUI defenses that might be available to you
Depending on the facts of your case, you might have several criminal defense options available to you in your drunk driving case. Let’s look at some of the most common defense strategies here:
- Breath test inaccuracies: The police and prosecutors regularly rely on the results of a breathalyzer test to obtain a drunk driving conviction. But these machines aren’t infallible. There are a lot of issues that can lead to an erroneous test result. This includes improper storage of the device, improper calibration of the equipment, and improper administration of the test itself.
- Illegal traffic stop: In far too many cases, the police initiate a traffic stop without proper legal justification. They might have a hunch that a driver is intoxicated, but that’s not enough. Law enforcement is supposed to have reasonable suspicion to believe that a law is being broken before they can make a traffic stop. If a traffic stop is illegal, then any subsequently gathered evidence, including breath test results, field sobriety test results, and your statements, may be blocked from being used against you.
- Chain of custody errors: If you’re subjected to a blood test, then you might be able to argue that your blood specimen was mishandled, thereby compromising the validity of the test. To figure out whether chain of custody errors were made, you’ll need to subpoena records and probably depose witnesses.
- Prescription drug use: Although an officer may think that you’re under the influence of alcohol, your behavior may be due to an unexpected side effect caused by legal prescription drug use. If this is the case, then you might be able to diminish the prosecution’s case.
- Failure to provide observation period: To better ensure that a breath test is accurate, the police are supposed to wait for a certain period to ensure that residual alcohol in the mouth doesn’t result in an erroneous test result. This means that the police should be watching to ensure that you’re not burping prior to the test.
- Failing to provide important information through discovery: To prepare your case, you’ll need to know what the prosecution is going to present. Engaging in discovery is the best way to do this, where you formally request documents, records, and information. For example, you can subpoena dash cam or body cam footage, which could show that you didn’t appear intoxicated at the time of being pulled over. If the prosecution fails to turn that information over, then you can block it from being used against you.
Are you ready to aggressively defend yourself?
You need to be prepared to fight the prosecution if you want to avoid the harsh outcomes that are oftentimes associated with a drunk driving arrest. Fortunately, you might have a lot of defense arguments at your fingertips, and an experienced criminal defense attorney might be able to help you effectively argue your case.