The first step to employing a successful DUI defense is to gather all of the evidence needed to support your case.
For instance, to what extent did the police officer follow the regulations he’s required to follow? A good DUI defense involves putting your case under a microscope and knowing every detail of the event, inside and out.
The point is to identify the things that make your DUI defense case stronger, so that your attorney can get your charge reduced or, ideally, dismissed.
DUI Defense Strategy
A charge of Driving Under the Influence (DUI) can be one of the most difficult to defend against. The difficulty is due to the fact that most people have experience: (1) driving, (2) consuming alcohol or (3) driving after having a drink. Most people bring prior experiences in the area that they use, rightly or wrongly, to judge a person accused of DUI. Another factor in the difficulty in defending against such a charge has to do with the sophisticated technology and regimented procedures used to collect evidence. The tendency is to believe in the reliability of the technology and procedures in place.
Attack the Initial Arrest
Most DUI arrests begin after a police officer or witness observe what they perceive to be abnormal driving, such as weaving in and out of lanes, using excessive speed, not stopping at crosswalks or driving without turning on your lights. While any of these may be indicative of intoxication, each may also have nothing to do with being under the influence. Accordingly, the first DUI defense strategy is to show that there was another reason for your inconsistent performance behind the wheel. If you can show, for example, that you didn’t get much sleep prior to driving; that your car was experiencing some mechanical problems; or that you were responding to an emergency and therefore both stressed and in a hurry, then you may be able to show the police were mistaken in stopping you. Conversely, if you can show that despite your bad driving, once you were ordered to pull over, you slowed, stopped and parked accordingly, you may be able to show that your driving had nothing to do with intoxication and that you were wrongfully charged with DUI.
Attack the Field Sobriety Test Results
After the initial stop, police officers are often required to perform a battery of standardized field sobriety tests (FST) to determine if you are indeed under the influence of alcohol. It is not illegal to drink and drive; it is illegal to drink so much that your ability to operate a vehicle has been impaired. The key point to keep in mind is that FSTs are not proof positive that you are intoxicated. They are just an indicator of possible intoxication. If you did well on the FSTs, then you must emphasize that fact. If you did poorly or failed the FSTs, you must try to show that there were others factors leading to that outcome. For example, if you can show that the “heel to toe” test was performed on an uneven surface; that the horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN) eye test was performed as you were looking into passing traffic; or that you were intimidated by the police, you may prove that your FST results should not be considered in a determination of intoxication.
Attack the BAC Results
The most difficult evidence to defend against in a DUI case is the breath alcohol content (BAC) reading. BACs are generally obtained when a suspected person is asked to blow into a breath-analyzing machine. The machine then prints out a reading of the amount of alcohol measured on the breath, and by analogy in the body. In most states, if your BAC is over .08 then you are considered to be under the influence. Since most DUI cases come down to the BAC reading, law enforcement is quite careful in the procedures and protocols in which the tests are given. But if you can show that the BAC results are inaccurate or uncertain then you can win your case. First, while refusing to submit to a BAC often results in an overnight arrest, you should refuse to give one. Without BAC results to battle, you should be more successful in combatting the arrest and the FST results. Second, if you do submit and fail, you need to cast doubt on the high BAC reading. You can argue that if you just had a drink immediately prior to giving the test, the results are measuring alcohol still in your mouth and therefore inaccurate as to overall intoxication. Lastly, call on an outside expert who may be able to show that the machine that gave the reading was defective and therefore cannot be considered in proving intoxication. See if there were other cases overturned, and if the same equipment results were questioned then.
Hire a Lawyer
Accordingly, you should never try to defend a DUI charge on your own. In fact, the first step in any DUI defense is to either hire an experienced DUI attorney or, if you can’t afford one, have the court appoint one to represent you. While there are no two DUI cases exactly alike, the strategies above may help you and your lawyer defend you should you be accused.
If you were arrested for a DUI in Massachusetts, remember that this doesn’t mean you will be penalized with a DUI conviction. With the help of a reputable Massachusetts drunk driving attorney, you can win your case.
An experienced Massachusetts drunk driving attorney will be able to employ the appropriate DUI defense strategy for your case. Contact the DUI defense attorneys at Revelli & Luzzo for your free consultation. You have nothing to lose, but everything to gain.