Aug 8, 2017
If you have been arrested for driving under the influence, you need to understand your essential legal rights. You also need to have an appreciation of the primary ways in which a person in your position possibly can beat a DUI charge.
1. No Probable Cause for the Initial Stop
A police officer must have probable cause to stop your car in the first instance. What this means is that a law enforcement officer must have a reasonable belief that you committed some sort of crime or driving infraction in the first instance, before pulling you over.
If no probable cause exists for the top in the first instance, you are in a position to challenge the admission into court of evidence collected during the stop. This would include evidence surrounding the allegation that you were driving while intoxicated. The net effect of this is that the case against you might be thrown out by the court.
2. Unreliable or Faulty Breath Test
Breath testing remains the most common way of attempting to determine whether of not a person has blood alcohol content, or BAC, over the legal limit. The problem is that breath tests can be unreliable and can malfunction. Examples of potential problems with breath tests include improper use by police, instrument malfunctions, physiological problems with person being tested, and failure of a law enforcement officer to observe the individual being tested before and during the process.
Medical conditions like GERD, heartburn, or acid reflux can distort the readings of a breath test. Diabetes and hypoglycemia can also result in false positive breath test results.
Certain types of diets can also result in a breath test indicating a high BAC level, when in fact that is not the case. Examples of diets that can negatively impact a breath test include those that are low in carbs and high in protein. Residual alcohol in the mouth can also negatively impact a breath test.
Even when a breath test is performed as required, and there exit no external factors impacting the results, experts have determined that breath testing equipment does have an error rate of between 0.005-0.02 percent. What this means is that if a person tests between 0.08 to 0.10 percent, the results arguably are within the margin of error. This can be the foundation of a DUI defense.
3. Misconduct by Law Enforcement or Prosecuting Attorney
While the vast majority of police officers are honorable public servants, not all follow procedure and are completely honest. A defense to a DUI charge is that the police have engaged in some type of misconduct. This can include improperly completing a police report or even providing false testimony in court.
On a related note, there are instances in which prosecutorial misconduct can provide a defense in a DUI case. For example, if a prosecuting attorney fails to turn over to the defense exculpatory evidence, that conduct can form the basis for a defense to a DUI case.
4. Improper Blood Testing
Another avenue through which a DUI charge can be contested involves blood testing. In some cases, a person charged with DUI submits to blood testing. Three common issues can result in inaccurate blood test results. These are blood fermentation, blood contamination, and improper storage of a blood sample.
In addition, there could be a problem with the chain of custody. Maintaining a proper chain of custody is required in a criminal prosecution. What this means is that the identities of all individuals who had possession of the blood sample must be fully documented. A failure in the chain of custody can provide a defense in a DUI case, resulting in the blood test results being thrown out.
Have you been charged with a DUI/DWI? If so, lawyer Thomas Pyles can help. Fill out the form to the right to schedule a free meeting with Thomas Pyles to go over your options. Don’t do it alone!
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