Ways to Challenge a Driving Under the Influence Charge

  • Criminal Defense
July 29, 2020

Were you pulled over, arrested, and charged with driving under the influence (DUI), driving while intoxicated (DWI), or driving while ability impaired (DWAI)? You have probably already been told a few times by officials in the criminal justice system that your charge is guaranteed to reach a conviction. While it is true that many DUI cases end out of favor for the defendant, don’t be discouraged. There are always ways to challenge any charge and fight for an acquittal, case dismissal, or charge reduction.

First Things First, Call an Attorney

Before we get into some DUI defense strategies that tend to pop up in courts across the country, it is important to encourage you to call a private DUI defense attorney as soon as you can. You have the right to a public defender whenever you are charged with a misdemeanor or felony crime, but you should not rely on them in your DUI case.

Public defenders are often overworked and cannot even open your case folder for a few weeks. By that time, your driver’s license might have already been automatically suspended just for being arrested for a DUI. Many states will automatically suspend a DUI suspect’s license in as little as 7 days after the arrest is made, and the suspension often lasts up to one year. The suspension happens even if there is absolutely no evidence to suggest the driver was intoxicated.

With this in mind, hiring a private DUI defense attorney will usually get a defense case moving much sooner than when a public defender is used. Hired defense lawyers can challenge the automatic suspension of your driver’s license right away and could even have the case thrown out in arraignment.

DUI Defense Strategies

If your DUI case does proceed to criminal court for a trial, then your future and freedoms might depend entirely on the defense strategy your attorney has created for you. Every case is different, so there is no promise that a strategy that worked in one case will succeed in yours, and vice versa. However, it can be helpful to know a few of these common defense methods ahead of time to discuss them with your lawyer and see if any could apply to your case.

Different defense strategies to challenge a DUI charge:

  • Unjustified stop: Before a police officer can pull you over, they need to first find a justification for doing so, which means they need to have probable cause that you are or have just committed a crime. Swerving, braking erratically, speeding, and other reckless driving behaviors are often indicators of intoxication that validate a traffic stop. If there is no proof you were driving dangerously, though, then your stop could be found unjustified and any evidence gathered against you during the stop should be tossed out by the court. In other words, the prosecution’s entire case could be undone.
  • Inaccurate BAC reading: Police investigators often try to claim that blood alcohol concentration (BAC) tests using blood, breath, or urine are highly accurate and reliable. The truth is that your BAC results could be skewed by various factors that spike the reading, possibly pushing you past the line of legal intoxication. For example, there are many studies that suggest belching shortly before a BAC breathalyzer test can falsely elevate the recorded BAC level.
  • Mishandled evidence: Another serious issue with BAC testing is how susceptible the evidence is to contamination due to being mishandled. If a blood sample is not refrigerated at the right temperature and shortly after it is drawn, then the sample could become effectively unusable. Any tests based on that sample can read higher than the actual BAC level.
  • No danger: It might be a longshot, but it could be argued that your charges should be reduced if you had not put anyone in danger due to your intoxication. Imagine if you were pulled over 100 feet from your home while you were headed home. If the officer had never stopped you, then you would have gotten home without incident. Such an argument would likely only be effective if you have an otherwise spotless driving record, though.

Discuss Your Defense with Jorgensen, Brownell & Pepin, P.C.

DUI defendants in Colorado can count on Jorgensen, Brownell & Pepin, P.C. for reliable criminal defense representation. We believe everyone deserves a fair chance in court against a prosecution that is often overzealous. By providing strong defense strategies to the criminally accused, we help keep the criminal justice system honest and fight against injustices like wrongful convictions and extreme sentencing.

Get us on your side today. Call (720) 491-3117.

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