Thursday, March 6, 2014

Drunk Driving: Possible Defenses

Conviction for DUI will lead to harsh penalties, so it is important that you fight your charges aggressively. Although every situation is different, there are various defenses that can used to challenge the prosecution’s evidence. Your answers to the following questions could have a significant impact upon your DUI defense:

Did the officer have probable cause to pull you over? 
According to state law, an officer must have probable cause to pull you over for suspected drunk driving. Examples of probable cause include weaving between lanes, driving well over or below the speed limit, or driving at night without headlights.

Was the field sobriety test administered correctly? 
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) outlines specific testing procedures for the walk and turn, one leg stand, and horizontal gaze nystagmus tests. The officer’s failure to follow the procedures could make the results of the test invalid.

Did outside factors affect your field sobriety test results? 
There are numerous reasons a person could have difficulty with a field sobriety test, even if they are completely sober. Some of these factors include being extremely nervous or embarrassed, wearing heels or other unstable footwear, gravel or another slippery substance on the ground, being distracted by the noise and lights of oncoming traffic, or being unable to understand the officer’s instructions because of difficulty understanding English.

Did the officer observe you before administering the breath test? 
Breathalyzers are intended to measure the amount of alcohol on a person’s deep lung tissue. If you burped or vomited shortly before taking the breath test, the results could be erroneous. To prevent invalid results, officers must observe the suspected drunk driver for at least 15 minutes before administering the breath test.

Was the Breathalyzer properly maintained and calibrated? 
If the breath machine used to measure your BAC was not routinely cleaned and maintained, the results could be severely impacted. Likewise, if the officer was not properly trained in the administration of breath tests or if the machine was not calibrated correctly before the test, the results could be ruled invalid.

Were you read your Miranda Rights? 
Upon being arrested for DUI, the officer is legally required to read your Fifth Amendment rights to you. If you were not properly Mirandized by the officer and made aware of all your rights, the court could rule that any incriminating statements made after the arrest are inadmissible as evidence.

Find out about other defenses by checking out the Beat Your DUI page on our website. If you were arrested for drunk driving in the Las Vegas area, contact De Castroverde Law Group today to learn about the defenses available in your case.