Facing a DUI charge can be scary. Fighting the charge can seem impossible. You might think going to jail is inevitable because you don’t know how to defend yourself during legal proceedings. However, hiring an experienced criminal defense lawyer is beneficial. They can protect your rights and determine the appropriate strategy to fight for your freedom.
Below are the most common legal strategies to defend against a DUI charge that could get the case dismissed.
Lack of Probable Cause
Law enforcement must have probable cause to arrest a person for DUI. You can challenge the validity of the arrest by showing a lack of probable cause.
Challenge the Results of an HGN Test
A horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN) test examines a person’s eyes for involuntary jerking to determine if they are under the influence of alcohol. Involuntary jerking is noticeable when someone is impaired.
Challenging the results might be possible if the officer didn’t perform other types of tests, such as a blood test or field sobriety test. A failed HGN test alone isn’t enough to charge someone.
Challenge the Reliability of a Field Sobriety Test
Commonwealth law requires law enforcement to follow specific guidelines while administering field sobriety tests. The court might determine that the test results are invalid if an arresting officer doesn’t meet those guidelines.
Field sobriety tests are also unreliable. The results depend on an officer’s interpretation of a person’s behavior. Just because you fail doesn’t necessarily mean you are under the influence. There must be additional evidence of intoxication to arrest someone for DUI.
Show the Blood Test Was Administered Improperly
Law enforcement must administer a blood test correctly to receive valid results. They must also follow the appropriate chain of command while transporting and storing the results. Any break in the chain can diminish the validity of the test.
Lack of Reasonable Suspicion
The police can’t pull someone over unless they have a reasonable suspicion of intoxication. The officer might witness a driver drifting onto the shoulder or driving the wrong way on a one-way street. A DUI charge might be dismissed if evidence shows the officer had no good reason to pull you over in the first place.
Accuracy of the Breath Test
Law enforcement can administer two types of breath tests if they suspect someone is guilty of driving under the influence:
- Preliminary breath test (PBT) – A PBT is a breath test performed during a traffic stop.
- Breathalyzer test – Law enforcement administers a breathalyzer test at the police station. They must follow strict requirements while giving the test for the results to be valid. The device can’t have a systematic error rate above ten percent. If it does, you can challenge the results in court and potentially get the charges dropped.
Rising Blood Alcohol Defense
You might be able to use the rising blood alcohol defense under specific circumstances. This strategy involves your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at the time you were driving your vehicle. You can argue you drove while your BAC was below the legal limit. However, it increased by the time you took a breathalyzer test at the police station, causing the results to show your BAC was above the legal limit.
Contact an Aggressive Criminal Defense Lawyer in Hampton Roads, VA
At Shannon & Associates, P.C., we understand how overwhelming it can be to defend yourself against a DUI charge. Knowing you might face severe consequences is stressful. You don’t have to go through this alone. Our legal team will review the circumstances of your case and determine whether law enforcement violated your rights. You can depend on us to try to get the charge against you dropped, and your entire case dismissed.
If you were arrested or charged with DUI, call us at (757) 228-5529 for an appointment today.