Drunk driving charges can pose a significant threat to your future. The allegations alone could damage your standing in the community and your relationships with others, but a conviction could lead to jail time, license suspension, fines, and derailment of your career. And as you navigate your DUI case, the evidence mounted against you could leave you feeling hopeless for a decent outcome.
Yet, even when the evidence seems unbeatable, there may be criminal defense strategies that you can utilize to protect your future and even beat the prosecution. To find the best arguments, you have to analyze the facts of your case and find the strongest course of action under your circumstances. One way to do that is to identify and highlight mistakes that were made by the police during their drunk driving investigation.
The police act so confident during an investigation that it’s sometimes hard to imagine that they’ve made a mistake. All too often, though, police missteps violate rights and threaten people with false arrests and wrongful convictions.
So, as you try to figure out the best path forward in your drunk driving case, you should consider if the police made any of the following mistakes in your case:
- Illegal stop: Many DUI arrests and subsequent convictions start with a traffic stop. However, not all traffic stops are legally conducted. If the police lack reasonable suspicion of criminal wrongdoing or probable cause that you’ve committed an infraction, then there’s a strong likelihood that their stop of you was illegal. If that’s the case, then any evidence that they gather after that point, even evidence demonstrating intoxication, can be blocked from being used against you.
- Improper use of a breath test machine: Breath tests have strict protocols that must be followed to maintain accuracy. If the police stray from those best practices, then your breath test results can be faulty and unreliable. For example, if the police decide to administer a breath test on you at a time when you’re still burping, then the test might read artificially high due to the amount of residual alcohol on your breath caused by your belching.
- Improper administration of field sobriety tests: Law enforcement officers sometimes act like field sobriety tests are a failproof way to gauge intoxication. All too often, though, the instructions for these tests are poorly given and officers’ observations are unclear or inaccurate. This renders field sobriety tests inaccurate in many cases.
- Inadequate documentation: The police should document their observations of your behavior. When they fail to do so, it can be hard for them to recall exactly how you acted at the time of your arrest, which gives you the opportunity to try to poke holes in their story.
- Chain of custody errors: If your blood is drawn for testing, then you might be able to attack the results if you can show that your specimen was mishandled or stored inappropriately. Therefore, as part of your criminal defense, you should request documentation that shows chain of custody, that way you can point out any gaps that might exist.
When you’re charged with a DUI, it’s easy to find yourself on your heels, struggling to find a way to stay afloat. That’s why so many people end up taking plea deals in these cases. Before doing that, you should thoroughly analyze the facts of your case to see if there are aggressive ways to fight back, take control of your case, and beat the charges that have been levied against you.