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Legal Defenses Against a DUI Charge

When you’ve been charged with a DUI, it’s easy to think that there’s nothing you can do. The laws seem pretty cut-and-dry, and the police will try to convince you that they are. This, however, is not always true. You do not have to take a DUI charge laying down, and the accusation can be fought in court. If you’ve been arrested for a DUI, contact a lawyer today. A good attorney knows the law and can help you craft a defense, fighting to keep your freedom intact.

Let’s look at some examples of how to fight your DUI accusations.

The Police Stop Was Improper

By law, the police are not supposed to stop you unless they have a reasonable suspicion that you were doing something illegal. If you were speeding, for example, then the officers can clearly observe that you were going too fast and pull you over. What were the circumstances surrounding your being pulled over? Were you within the speed limit, driving in a straight line? Were all of your lights on and functional? Were you signaling properly; slowing down when necessary; and coming to a complete stop when you should? Driving late at night on St. Patrick’s Day is not a reason to get pulled over. When the police had no clear justification for the stop, it’s possible to turn the procedure around on them and have the charge thrown out.

Cops Trapped You into a Confession

Police have crafty ways of getting information from you, especially when they believe they’ve caught you in a DUI. If they ask you, “Have you been drinking tonight?” they know it will be easy for you to just say, “No.” Often, cops will employ little tricks to make you implicate yourself. They might say, “How much have you had to drink tonight?” When you give them an answer, they can use that as admission of guilt.

After the arrest, when you’ve been clearly told that speaking can be used against you, police are still going to ask you questions. They may pressure you into talking or even waiving your right to an attorney. If you have been drinking, they can use that impaired judgment against you to get you to confess.

In a situation like that, it really shouldn’t matter if you were drunk or not. It’s never okay for police to coerce a confession out of you, and such behavior needs to be challenged in court.

Bad Field Sobriety Tests

Field Sobriety Tests (FSTs) are a highly subjective way to determine if someone is drunk. Someone with poor balance may have a bad hip, not a pickled liver. A woman out on the town with her six-inch heels may have a hard time walking in a straight line.

Furthermore, FSTs are not meant to be a determining factor in a DUI arrest. If there was no other reason to believe that you were inebriated beyond a little slip when you went heel-to-toe, you shouldn’t be charged. Overzealous cops who are certain of your guilt can make the experience worse for you, causing you to make mistakes you wouldn’t have otherwise. If your FST wasn’t performed properly, you can use that to defend yourself in court.

You Were Ill, Not Drunk

Police tend to look for visible, physical signs that you have been drinking. They may be looking for redness in the eyes, slurred or broken speech, wobbling, etc. While we all agree that these are signs of inebriation, these symptoms are caused by plenty of other physical conditions.

Allergies

Spring is coming, and the pollen is kicking up. Red, watery eyes and runny noses are bound to be happening to the staunchest teetotalers. What an officer reported as signs of drunkenness may be signs of your body reacting to mating trees.

Furthermore, allergies often lead to sinus issues, which can have a whole host of symptoms like drunkenness. People with bad sinus issues often feel fatigue, dizziness, foggy thinking, and an inability to articulate clearly. When tissue inside one’s head becomes inflamed and swollen, it can cut off the normal airflow channels. Air that is meant to be released through the ears can get trapped, causing the off-balanced behavior described here.

Ketoacidosis

Diabetics can tell you about “ketoacidosis.” When too much sugar has accumulated in the blood, it becomes acidic. This is one of the main reasons why people with diabetes need to control their blood sugar. If a diabetic is having a bad day with their blood sugar and starts to go into ketoacidosis, there is a distinct smell that comes off their body, especially from their mouth. Many people describe it as having a nail polish smell. Others will say it smells like alcohol.

Illnesses and Breathalyzers

Breathalyzer technology gets better all the time, which is why law enforcement still trusts it. Even the best breathalyzers, however, still have a 15% margin of error. Illnesses, again, can play a role in an unwarranted DUI arrests. Respiratory diseases like asthma can yield incorrect results. Digestive problems like GERD or kidney issues will cause chemical mixtures in your breath that read poorly. Ketoacidosis come out through the breath as well. If you know you weren’t drinking, but a machine says otherwise, it’s time to call a lawyer.

The Officer Didn’t Smell Alcohol on Your Breath

Smell is an unreliable indicator of whether or not someone has been drinking. Many have made the argument that alcohol itself doesn’t leave an odor. What you smell when someone has been drinking is likely just the ingredients in the drink itself. For example, an NA (non-alcoholic) beer has essentially the same elements of a regular beer and can leave a similar smell in your mouth.

Poor Blood Testing

Police want a sample of your blood alcohol level (BAC) as soon as they can get it. BAC changes over time, and they want fresh evidence. If they had you waiting around and tested later, you can use that against them. Who knows what your BAC level was at the time of the arrest?

Who did the testing? A licensed phlebotomist should be handing the needles and the blood. Did the police, in a hurry, give the job to someone else? If so, the evidence can be thrown out.

Finally, blood samples need proper storage. If they are shoved into a shoebox and thrown onto a shelf, they can become tainted over time. A skilled lawyer can investigate evidence storage, and they may be able to find problems that make your blood samples invalid.

Call us today if you’ve been arrested for driving under the influence. We are skilled in finding inconsistencies with police records and arrest procedures. With years of experience, we can help craft a defense to keep you out of jail. Set up a free consultation now by calling (304) 461-6000, or contact us online.

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