A person with a charge for driving under the influence of substances (Driving Under Influence [DUI] or Driving While Intoxicated [DWI]) has some defense options at his disposal. There are some affirmative defenses in very few circumstances, even when the evidence otherwise supports the charge.
But it is more common to defend against a charge of driving while intoxicated by attacking the observations of the officer what happened before the arrest or questioning the integrity of the test, as the accuracy of the breathalyzer test. DUI laws differ from State to State, and each case has different facts, so it is best to consult with an attorney.
Affirmative defenses to DUI Charges
- Necessity: When a person must drive to prevent a greater evil. The driver must demonstrate that he had no other option and that the “greater evil” that he wanted to avoid was more serious than the possible damage that could result in a DUI.
- Duress: When the defendant leads to avoid serious injury or death. For example, someone forces an intoxicated person to drive while under threat of force.
- Entrapment: When an officer requests a person to drive while intoxicated. The defendant must also be able to prove that he or she would not have been predisposed to drive drunk if not for the alleged entrapment.
- Mistake of fact: When a person believes in good faith that is not intoxicated. For example, you have valid reasons to believe that the toxic effect of the medication prescribed has disappeared.
- Involuntary Intoxication: When a person has ingested alcohol without his knowledge. For example, if you entered an amount unrecognizable from alcohol to the bowl of punch at a party.
Common Drunk Driving Defenses
- Improper Stop: it Is one of the arguments most commonly used by defense attorneys in DUI cases and involves the allegation that the officer did not have probable cause to stop the vehicle.
- Administration/Accuracy of field sobriety test: You can take an arrest for abuse in case of to rely on a field sobriety test improperly administered or inaccurate results. Examination of horizontal nystagmus, which detects the eye movements often associated with intoxication, is often called into question.
- Administration/Accuracy of the test of the hand-held breathalyzer: The lawyer can challenge the test administration of the breathalyzer done at the scene of the infraction (e.g., what was the officer properly trained?) or if there were influencing factors such as vomiting or indigestion. In addition, the defense may question if the device that performed the test was properly calibrated and maintained.
- Administration/Accuracy of the test of the standard breathalyzer: it Is similar to the defense No. 3, but refers to the tests with devices that are more accurate than those used in the police station after making an arrest.
- Administration /Chain of Custody of Blood Test – This is a defense questioning the management of the analysis of blood or if it was altered or tampered with the wrong way in the chain of custody.
- Rising of the concentration of alcohol in blood: The defense argues that the alcohol concentration in blood was below the legal limit when the defendant was driving, but that increased between the time he stopped the vehicle and administered the test of the breathalyzer. This is possible when the system has not absorbed the alcohol consumed recently up to the time of the examination of the breathalyzer.
Other, Less Common Defenses
- Accused was not the Driver: You can question if the person with the DUI charge was, in fact, driving at that time. Perhaps the passenger, believing that he was sober, switched his place with the driver but failed the field sobriety test or the breathalyzer.
- Inappropriate actions of the police: This defense may include evidence or testimony that the officer violated the civil rights of the defendant, falsified a DUI report or had an inappropriate behavior.
Consult A Lawyer who Specializes in DUI
If you or a family member is arrested for DUI, you may need the services of a lawyer who specializes in DUI. A lawyer who specializes in defending DUI charges will evaluate all of the evidence, including the procedure and results of field sobriety tests and chemical substances, to ensure protection of your rights. In addition, it is important to speak with an attorney familiar with the laws of your jurisdiction. Most offer free consultations, so your first step should be to contact a lawyer who specializes in DUI.