Consequences and Defenses to DUI of Alcohol and Prescription Drugs

You would have to have been living under a rock to not have heard about the most recent celebrity arrest. It has been all over the news and Internet that Justin Bieber was arrested for driving while under the influence of prescription drugs and alcohol, as well as drag racing. Later reports indicated that Justin’s blood alcohol level was under the legal limit however, the legal limit being referred to applies to those 21 years and older. Because he is under the age of 21, there is no limit under which he can drive. There is a “Zero Tolerance” policy when it comes to drinking and driving under the age of 21. So, Justin not only faces the typical consequences that come with these types of charges, if convicted he will lose his driver’s license for one year.

Typically, a conviction for these types of charges would result in mandatory alcohol classes, attending Mothers Against Drunk Drivers or MADD panel, maybe attending AA meetings and a loss of his driving privilege. There are also fees and fines that would be ordered if convicted. However, in Justin’s situation, it has been alleged that he admitted to smoking marijuana prior to driving and therefore may be required to attend some sort of drug rehab.

Depending on what the actual charges end up being, his defense attorney will no doubt look at challenging the stop in the first place. There are reports that he was drag racing and this is why he was pulled over. However, there are conflicting reports that he was not racing and was in fact driving the speed limit. Because we live in a world of camera/video phones, apparently there is video of some of the incident. If Justin’s attorney is successful in proving that he was not racing or speeding, this could cause the case to be dismissed altogether. Why? Because police must have reasonable cause to pull him over in the first place. Some might argue that he was pulled over simply because he was driving a yellow Lamborghini in the early morning hours. Without reasonable cause to pull him over, the stop was not legal and therefore, anything after that is legally irrelevant.

His attorney may want to challenge the field sobriety tests as well as the alcohol results. Police officers must follow strict guidelines when administering a field sobriety test. If at the scene a roadside intoxilyzer was used to check his breath for the presence of alcohol, his attorney will look carefully at the procedure that the officers followed, as well as the maintenance logs on the particular machine used. If there was any police misconduct or if the regulations were not followed properly, the results could potentially be thrown out.

The same applies to any blood that may have been taken. The lab taking the blood must also follow strict guidelines. As evidenced in the most recent Orange County Lab errors, human error in the lab can result in inaccurate tests results. When it was discovered that the Orange County Lab had made errors or not followed procedures, it resulted in convictions for DUI being overturned and open cases dismissed.

If you would like to know more about DUI under the age of 21, please visit my webpage regarding Zero Tolerance.

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