Questions to Raise When Facing DUI Charges
If you're facing DUI charges, you may be wondering how to start presenting a defense. With the support of an attorney, you may be able to bring the following four concerns to the attention of the court.
Was the Traffic Stop Valid?
The police have to have a reasonable basis for conducting a traffic stop, a concept known as probable cause. For example, if a driver hasn't crossed the centerline repeatedly or wasn't speeding, the cops do not have grounds to conduct a stop in the first place. However, even the smallest detail, can be treated as probable cause. For example, a faulty or broken tail light is grounds for a traffic stop under all circumstances. Conversely, the police can't pull someone over just because they're driving at the time bars close.
Were Tests Properly Administered?
Anyone who has ever been through a DUI stop will recognize that the police go through a process that slowly escalates their level of concern about a driver. The basic field sobriety test begins with questioning, then it might lead to a test of physical abilities. Eventually, officers may analyze the alcohol content in a driver's breath using a device. Every step of this process is expected to be administered by the books, and you may ask a judge to toss out DUI charges if the tests were not done the right way.
Was Any Equipment Faulty?
As is the case with any type of sensitive equipment the police use, the breathalyzers used in field sobriety tests need to be functioning properly. Every station maintains a testing regimen for the devices they use, and they keep detailed logs of how long systems have been in use and when they were last calibrated. Your lawyer can also compare the device's product numbers against publicly available data regarding failure rates. If any of these issues are found by your lawyer, they can then be presented to the court to raise the question of whether or not the tests were accurate.
Was Chain of Custody Observed?
If you refused a breath test or the police believed you might have been on drugs, your situation may have called for the administration of a blood test. The cops have a responsibility to account for the chain of custody for the sample. Should anyone, including a lab worker, slips up, this may be grounds for dismissing DUI charges against you.