Some people think that if you are charged with a DUI offense, there’s nothing you can do. While this may be true for the average layperson, nothing could be further from the truth in the hands of an experienced defense attorney. DUI charges can be challenged,starting before the stop, through the field sobriety testing, and after your arrest and detention and after the breathalyzer or blood test is administered and analyzed. At each step of the way, there are legal challenges which are available to pursue. Whether the legal challenge will be successful in any given case depends on the facts of the investigation. However, below are a few areas where a good DUI defense attorney might find fault with the prosecution’s case.
DUI Defense: Challenging the Stop
Law enforcement is not permitted to simply pull cars over to determine whether the driver may have been drinking. Instead, law enforcement must have “probable cause” to stop a car. In every DUI case, a qualified defense attorney will review the stated basis for the stop. Additionally, where there are dashcam videos, a review of these videos to confirm the basis for the stop takes place. Defendants are entitled to a hearing to determine whether the evidence the government has, was obtained illegally. If the stop is not based on probable cause, supported by the evidence, the entire case can be dismissed.
DUI Defense: Challenging the Testing
The manufacturer of the breathalyzer test and the courts have issued a protocol for performing testing. This includes a period of time where the arrested person is monitored prior to testing. There are medical conditions which can impact the test result. The machine must be maintained properly and certified. Further, law enforcement must insure that the breathalyzer is calibrated on a regular schedule.
Blood testing can always be challenged due to the ‘human element.’ Though more accurate than a breathalyzer, mistakes are made during blood draw and prep of the blood vials, transportation to the lab and the lab testing itself.
Anyone of these topics could be the basis for litigation. Depending on the facts of your case, this could result in charges being dismissed. In Boston, thousands of DUI test results were tossed out of court when it was discovered the machines were being improperly maintained and the settings were incorrect.
DUI Defense: Challenging the Interpretation
Even though a machine does the calculations, a qualified defense attorney knows this is not the end of the analysis. Controls must be reviewed. Additionally, tests and retests must be compared. Defense experts can interpret results in the best light for the defense.
In blood draw cases, there are additional concerns. Chain of custody must be examined to ensure the integrity of the sample. The analysts’ notes must be reviewed. Reagents and test tubes have expiration dates; these must be examined. Any test showing a specific failure may be the basis to dismiss the case.
You Need a Lawyer Fighting on Your Behalf
If you are charged with a DUI, don’t attempt to handle this yourself or wait too long to hire counsel. There are many areas which could be subject to challenge in a DUI case. However, to do so properly, you need a qualified DUI defense attorney, familiar with the law and the science. Additionally, different jurisdictions have different rules that may permit a resolution without criminal conviction. Contact the Law Offices of Steven F. O’Meara to discuss the facts and circumstances of your case. With over 25 years of experience, Steven F. O’Meara knows the process. Let his experience work for you.