Assessing the Strength of Your DUI Defense Case
There are a ton of factors that go into prosecuting and defending a DUI arrest. These factors primarily revolve around the reason for which the vehicle was pulled over, and the way in which the field sobriety test was administered. While police departments are given a certain amount of latitude in determining if probable cause exists for a DUI stop and subsequent DUI roadside field sobriety tests, many times an officer may either be legally incorrect, or exercise poor judgment. In these types of situations, there’s often a strong case to drop the pending charges and avoid a DUI conviction.
To assess the strength of your potential DUI defense, the first issue to be addressed is that of the sobriety test. When the police officer requested that you take a breathalyzer exam, did you refuse? If you did not take the breathalyzer exam, the prosecuting attorney will need to rely on other evidence in proving their case against you. Often times, the lack of this evidence will result in the reduction of DUI charges to a lesser reckless driving charge.
If you refused the breathalyzer exam, the next issue to assess is the field sobriety test. Did you perform the field sobriety test; and if so, how well did you do? If you didn’t blow, and a video review of your test shows that your performance did not indicate intoxication, there’s a good chance that your DUI charges will be dropped. If you didn’t do well, don’t worry; that doesn’t mean you have a weak defense. Your poor performance may have been a consequence of poor roadside conditions. Was there loose gravel or sand on the road? Was the area well lit? Was it raining? Poor roadside conditions do not allow for a fair and impartial field sobriety test. Gravel and sand could cause you to slip and make it difficult to perform to the level that proves your innocence.
Even if you blew over the legal limit and miserably failed the sobriety field test, you could still have a strong DUI defense. In this case, it will likely boil down to the procedural process of the arrest. There are very specific rules that police must follow throughout their initial investigation and subsequent arrest. These range from having the sufficient probable cause to pull you over to violating the Fourth Amendment which prohibits unreasonable search and seizure. If the arresting officer strayed even slightly from the letter of the law, your DUI charges could be dropped.
There are so many factors that go into making a valid DUI arrest along with an equal number of factors that can make the most sober amongst us appear intoxicated. Never assume that you have no chance to avoid a DUI conviction without overturning every stone. Tell your DUI attorney every last minute detail that took place. Even the smallest of details could make the difference between a DUI conviction and a DUI acquittal.