Can I Fight My DUI Case
Being arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs doesn’t mean that you will be convicted of driving under the influence. An experienced DUI defense lawyer will know the defenses available and will know what to look for when reviewing your case.
Your driving pattern is usually the first thing an arresting officer notices, and is usually the first thing the District Attorney will focus on. The police report will most likely document some sort of traffic violation or weaving within your lane. But, just because you are a bad driver doesn’t mean you were intoxicated. People commit traffic violations all the time while sober and weave within their lanes for a variety of reasons. So, these driving patters, which an officer relies on, are not a reliable indicator that an individual is driving drunk.
The police report will also identify what the officer refers to as “objective signs of intoxication”. This, like the driving pattern, can be explained. Objective signs typically include: (1) the odor of alcohol on your breath; (2) slurred or slow speech; (3) red, watery eyes; (4) a red or flushed face; and (5) the individual was unsteady on their feet. All of these objective signs are listed on the officer’s DUI arrest form. All he or she needs to do it check the box without any sort of explanation whatsoever. Further, these objective signs can have many explanations that have nothing to do with alcohol.
For example, someone with red, watery eyes may be very tired, may have eye irritation, may have a cold or may suffer from allergies. The smell of alcohol may be the result of having had one drink. Being unsteady on your feet, while performing a field sobriety test is not unusual. There are many individuals who have balance problems. If you couple that with being nervous, it is understandable how someone would perform poorly on a field sobriety test.
The next step an officer uses to determine intoxication is the field sobriety test. These hand-held, roadside intoxilyzers are notoriously unreliable. The maintenance logs and calibration logs need to be examined closely by an attorney who understands what they are looking for.
What most people do not know is that, the officer who is administering the breath test, must observe the individual for 15 minutes prior to the test being administered. Most officers use this 15-minute time period to do their paperwork or get the intoxilyzer machine ready, rather than observing the individual, as is required. An experienced DUI defense attorney will seek out any video of the stop and field sobriety tests, looking for signs that the officer did not follow the proper procedures.
So there are many details that need to be examined and many defenses that must be explored when defending a driving under the influence charge. Hiring an aggressive, experienced defense attorney is the best way to ensure that your rights have not been violated and to know that all defenses have been considered.