Being charged with a DUI in California is a serious matter. If you get convicted of a DUI, you spend time in jail, have your license suspended or revoked, and face significant fines and other penalties. A DUI conviction will also appear on your records, which might make it hard for you to secure housing or employment in the future.
You are innocent until proven guilty, and there are defenses that you could employ to prove your innocence further. A California DUI defense attorney can make the strongest possible defense for your case.
Learn more about how a California DUI defense lawyer can help you with your case and protect your rights.
Disputing your charge for driving under the influence in California starts from the moment the law enforcement authorities investigate you. Some of the points you should keep in mind include the following:
Several defenses could help you beat your DUI charges. A strong defense and indisputable proof should convince the jury that there is reasonable doubt. In most cases, a competent and experienced counsel can get your charges dropped entirely. They could even prevent the prosecution from filing charges in the first place.
What are some defenses that lawyers can employ in DUI cases?
A defense lawyer’s arguments will depend on the strength of the prosecution’s case. In some situations, the prosecution might file charges based on driving patterns alone. For example, the prosecution may claim that you were erratically swerving while driving, which might be enough for them to charge a DUI.
Despite the prosecution’s attacks, one of the first arguments a defense counsel may invoke is that driving patterns are not a good indicator of driving under the influence. This defense could be strong because there are plenty of reasons someone might be swerving on the road.
Perhaps you wanted to avoid an animal or tried to deal with an emergency in your vehicle. Swerving doesn’t necessarily mean one is under the influence.
The prosecution may also claim you were driving under the influence because you failed field sobriety tests. Every field sobriety test is different, but a failed one doesn’t necessarily mean you were driving under the influence. It may be late at night, and you are having difficulty seeing what you are doing, or you may need help understanding the officer’s instructions.
The defense counsel will primarily attack the reliability of this test. The prosecution will have a hard time disputing the efficiency of the field sobriety test, especially if it’s the only proof they presented during the trial.
The officer could have administered a breathalyzer test, and the results indicated that you were driving under the influence.
There might have been a mistake with the breath test itself. The officer may have needed to have administered it correctly, or the equipment used for your breathalyzer may have needed to be appropriately calibrated. It could mean that the test results are not credible and should be considered inadmissible.
The prosecution may also conduct a blood test showing that your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) exceeded the legal limit. An elevated BAC does not necessarily mean that you were driving under the influence, either.
For example, if your sample was stored improperly, it could render the test results inaccurate. It could also happen if the equipment used to measure your BAC was not appropriately calibrated. That could make the results unreliable as well.
Your lawyer will exhaust all means to investigate the chain of custody to check whether your blood sample has been tampered with.
A defense lawyer may also claim that the blood alcohol concentration the prosecution presented before the court was not the same as your blood alcohol concentration when you were behind the wheel.
Suppose there was a significant lapse between when you were pulled over and when your blood alcohol concentration was measured. In that case, your blood alcohol concentration might have been higher during the test than when you were behind the wheel. It could mean you were not under the influence while driving.
If multiple people were in the car, how can the prosecution prove who was driving during the test or arrest? You might have had a high BAC then, but that does not necessarily prove you were behind the wheel.
If other people in the car can testify that somebody else was behind the wheel aside from you, your defense counsel can convince the jury that you were not driving. Therefore, you might not be guilty of a DUI.
The majority of the evidence the prosecution currently possesses was most likely collected after the officer pulled you over. The officer must have a valid reason for pulling you over and arresting you.
For example, perhaps the officer thought you were swerving or involved in an accident. If the officer did not have probable cause to pull you over, all of the evidence following the arrest or pulling over would be inadmissible, and it might be enough to get your charges dismissed.
Sometimes, the officer will conclude you are grossly intoxicated, which is enough for a DUI conviction. But what if the officer’s reasons for arresting you are subjective and inaccurate, which doesn’t necessarily indicate that you are intoxicated?
You could have been simply tired, but not to the point of intoxication. Your charges could be dropped or dismissed if the officer has no objective signs suggesting you were drunk.
Do you have a history of gastroesophageal reflux disease, otherwise known as GERD? GERD could lead to a false BAC on a breathalyzer test because you have a mixture of different substances in your stomach. Your counsel can use this for your case and achieve a strong DUI defense.
You may also have a chronic medical condition that can falsely elevate your blood alcohol concentration. For example, if you have a history of diabetes or follow a high-protein diet, it could be enough to boost your BAC falsely.
In addition, if your blood sugar was low during the test, your BAC could inaccurately increase. Your lawyer can examine your medical records to see if he can apply any of these medical defenses to your case.
Improper police conduct can also be enough to get your DUI charges dropped or dismissed.
For example, the police may not have had probable cause to pull you over or have administered the field sobriety test incorrectly. The police also must ensure that the evidence chain is not violated, or any of the samples collected might not be admissible.
Your lawyer can look at the case details to see if improper police conduct could result in your charges being dropped.
Before giving you a breathalyzer, the officer must observe you for at least 15 minutes. It is essential because the officer would want to ensure you did not attempt to put anything in your mouth, vomit, or smoke. This step is crucial because these actions could potentially throw off the results of the breathalyzer test, making the results of the test unreliable.
Your lawyer will account for all evidence of this violation and see if the officer violated this observation period. If the officer did so, the defense might have enough to get the results of your breathalyzer test thrown out, which might also be enough to dismiss the entire case.
If you get charged with a DUI in California, your DUI defense lawyer can raise various defenses on your behalf. They can review the law enforcement officer’s actions, analyze your DUI blood or breath test, and determine which defense is best in your situation.
The nature of the defense they’ll use will vary depending on the individual circumstances of your case, and that is why you need to call your trusted attorney as soon as possible.
Schedule your case consultation with an experienced DUI attorney, and let the DUI lawyer provide you with a strong defense in your California DUI case. They can conduct a full DUI investigation and help you fight California DUI charges.
Just because you go through a DUI arrest in California doesn’t necessarily mean you will be convicted.
We are Summit Defense, and we can provide you with a strong criminal defense lawyer who can review your case and see which defense is best for your specific situation. The consequences of a DUI conviction in California are high, so give us a call today to schedule a case consultation.
Let us make sure you have the best possible defense.
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