Effective DUI Defenses You Can Utilize

Last Modified: February 6, 2024
February 6, 2024 | Rabin Nabizadeh | DUI

Facing a DUI charge can be a burdensome experience and frightening. You might feel like there’s no way to defend yourself, but that’s not true. There are several effective defenses that skilled DUI lawyers use to protect their clients. Understanding these defenses can be crucial in fighting a DUI charge.

DUI defenses vary depending on the specifics of each case. A good DUI defense lawyer knows how to analyze the details of your arrest and build a strong defense. At Summit Defense, our experienced DUI attorney can help you even if you have a prior DUI conviction. Our defense attorneys understand the severity of a charge of driving under the influence, and we can formulate a strong defense against allegations of drunk driving.

Learn more about how to challenge a DUI charge (including the field sobriety test) below. Then, contact our experienced DUI lawyer to schedule a case consultation.

Challenging the Legality of the DUI Stop

One of the first things a DUI defense attorney will look at is the reason for the DUI stop. Law enforcement requires a valid reason, termed reasonable suspicion or probable cause, to stop you. If the officer didn’t have a proper reason, the stop might be illegal, and any evidence gathered could be inadmissible. There might also be an improper DUI sobriety checkpoint setup.

In many DUI cases, the legality of the stop is a key issue. Your lawyer will examine the arresting officer’s report and any other evidence to determine if the stop was lawful. If it wasn’t, they could argue to have the charges dismissed. This is a common and powerful defense in DUI cases, and our criminal defense attorney knows how to use it to help you.

Questioning the Accuracy of Field Sobriety Tests

Police officers often use field sobriety tests during a DUI investigation. However, these tests can be inaccurate and subjective. Factors like nervousness, medical conditions, or even the weather can affect your performance. A DUI defense lawyer can challenge the validity of these tests in court.

Furthermore, the methods used by the police officer during the field sobriety tests can be questioned. If the tests weren’t conducted properly, their results might not be reliable. Your lawyer will scrutinize how these tests were administered and use any discrepancies to strengthen your defense.

Disputing Breathalyzer and Blood Test Results

Disputing Breathalyzer and Blood Test Results

Breathalyzer and blood tests are frequently utilized to determine blood alcohol concentration or blood alcohol content. However, these blood or breath tests aren’t always accurate. Your DUI defense attorney can dispute the results based on various factors, including the machine’s calibration and maintenance.

Analyzing the Calibration and Maintenance of Breathalyzers

Breathalyzer machines need regular calibration and maintenance to ensure accurate readings. If the machine used in your DUI arrest wasn’t properly calibrated or maintained, the breath test results might be invalid. A skilled DUI lawyer will investigate the history of the machine and challenge the results if there are any irregularities.

Furthermore, the way the breath test was administered can affect its accuracy. Your lawyer will look into whether the DUI arresting officer followed proper procedures. The test results might not be admissible in court if they didn’t. This can be a crucial factor in your defense following DUI arrests.

Evaluating the Procedures of Blood Sample Collection

Blood samples must be collected according to strict procedures to ensure the accuracy of any chemical test. If these procedures were not correctly followed, the results could be contested. Your lawyer will examine how your blood sample was collected and whether any protocol was breached.

In addition, factors like contamination or improper storage can also impact blood test results. Your defense attorney will scrutinize every step of the process, from collection to analysis. If they find any issues, they can use them to challenge the reliability of the blood test results.

Examining the Chain of Custody of Blood Samples

The chain of custody pertains to the documentation and handling of your blood sample from collection to analysis. Any break or irregularity in this chain can compromise the sample’s integrity. Your lawyer will investigate the chain of custody to ensure that your sample was handled correctly.

If there are any lapses or errors in the chain of custody, this could cast doubt on the blood test results. Your lawyer can argue that due to these issues, the results are unreliable and should not be used as evidence in your DUI case.

Arguing Against Improper Police Procedures

Arguing Against Improper Police Procedures

Sometimes, police officers don’t follow proper procedures during a DUI arrest or investigation. This can include issues with how they conducted tests, interacted with you, or processed your arrest. Your DUI lawyer will look for any procedural mistakes to use in your defense.

These procedural errors can range from minor oversights to significant violations. Each error can weaken the prosecution’s case against you. A skilled DUI defense attorney will identify and highlight these mistakes to help protect your rights and challenge the DUI charge.

Rising Blood Alcohol Concentration Defense

The rising blood alcohol concentration defense argues that your blood alcohol level was below the legal limit when driving but rose above it by the time of testing. This can happen because alcohol takes time to absorb into your bloodstream. If your lawyer can prove this, the breath test results might not reflect your actual BAC while driving.

This defense requires careful timing analysis of when you drank alcohol when you were stopped, and when you were tested. Your lawyer will gather evidence to support this argument. If successful, this defense can cast doubt on whether you were legally intoxicated while being accused of driving under the influence.

Mistake of Fact and Involuntary Intoxication Claims

Mistake of Fact and Involuntary Intoxication Claims

Sometimes, people face DUI charges due to honest mistakes or situations beyond their control. These scenarios can form the basis for specific defenses.

Mistaking Non-Alcoholic Beverages for Alcoholic Ones

You might have believed you were drinking a non-alcoholic beverage when, in fact, it contained alcohol. This mistake of fact can be a valid defense in a DUI case. Your lawyer will need to provide evidence that you had no intention of consuming alcohol and that your mistake was reasonable.

For this defense to work, your lawyer must show that the mistake was genuine and understandable. They will gather statements and any relevant evidence to support your claim. This defense can be particularly effective if you were served the drink by someone else who can confirm your belief.

Unknowingly Consuming Substances with Alcohol

In some cases, people consume food or drinks containing alcohol without knowing it. If this led to your impaired driving, you might have a defense. Your lawyer will look for evidence that you were unaware of the alcohol in what you consumed.

Proving this defense involves showing that you had no reason to suspect the presence of alcohol in what you consumed. Your attorney will collect statements, receipts, or any other evidence to support your claim. This defense can help demonstrate that your intoxication was not intentional.

Medication Interactions Leading to Impaired Driving

Sometimes, medications can interact with alcohol or even cause impairment on their own. It could be a defense in your DUI case if you were unaware of these effects. Your lawyer will investigate your medications and how they might have affected your driving ability.

Your defense will involve medical records and possibly expert testimony about the medication’s effects. If your lawyer can show that you were responsibly taking medication as prescribed and were unaware of its impairing effects, this can be a strong defense.

Necessity Defense: Driving Under Duress or Emergency

Necessity Defense: Driving Under Duress or Emergency

The necessity defense applies when you drive under duress or due to an emergency. This means you only drove because you believed it was necessary to avoid significant harm. Your lawyer will need to show that you had no other reasonable option but to drive.

For this defense to be successful, your lawyer must prove that the threat of harm was immediate and significant. They will gather evidence to demonstrate the circumstances that led you to drive. This can include witness statements or documentation of the emergency situation.

No Driving Defense: Proving Lack of Vehicle Operation

Sometimes, you can be charged with DUI even if you weren’t actually driving. The no-driving defense argues that you weren’t in actual physical control of the vehicle. Your lawyer will look for evidence that you weren’t operating or intending to operate the vehicle when arrested.

This defense can involve showing that the car was parked, you weren’t in the driver’s seat, or the keys were not in the ignition. Your attorney will carefully analyze the circumstances of your arrest to argue that you were not driving at the time.

Exploring Constitutional Violations in DUI Cases

Constitutional violations can occur during a DUI arrest or investigation. These can involve violations of your Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable searches and seizures or your Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination. Your lawyer will examine the particulars of your case for any such violations.

In case your constitutional rights have been violated, any evidence gathered as a result might be inadmissible in court. This can significantly weaken the prosecution’s case. Your lawyer will work to identify these violations and use them to defend your rights and challenge the DUI charges.

Call Summit Defense for Your San Jose DUI Defense Attorney

Call Summit Defense for Your San Jose DUI Defense Attorney

If you’re facing a DUI charge in San Jose, Summit Defense can help. Our team of experienced DUI attorneys understands the complexities of DUI law and will fight to protect your rights. We know how to build a strong defense and challenge the evidence against you.

Don’t face a DUI charge alone. With Summit Defense, you have a team of skilled lawyers on your side. We’ll explore every possible defense to give you the best chance at a favorable outcome. Contact us today for a consultation, and let us start building your defense.

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