Drunk driving charges can be very upsetting and embarrassing for any person. If you are in this situation, you may feel very disappointed in yourself and scared about what the charges and a possible conviction can do to your future. This can be especially overwhelming if you have never been in trouble with the law before.
However, it is crucial to try to see the bigger picture and understand that while DUI charges are serious, you are innocent until proven guilty and you have the right to defend yourself. Elements that are used to build a case against you are not necessarily perfect and there are factors that can be challenged in court to seek a reduction or dismissal of the charges against you.
Generally speaking, there are three different time periods of a DUI charge that should be scrutinized in the interest of building a defense: before a traffic stop, during a stop and after an arrest.
- Before a traffic stop: Police need to have a reason to pull you over before conducting a traffic stop. If reasonable suspicion was not established prior to your stop, the rest of the stop can be called into question.
- During a traffic stop: You have rights during a traffic stop. You are protected from unreasonable searches and seizures; you should understand why you have been stopped; you should be given clear, specific instructions regarding preliminary sobriety tests. If a police officer violates any of these rights or doesn’t comply with approved procedures, any resulting charges may be challenged.
- After an arrest: Just because you have been arrested doesn’t mean the case is closed. There have been many cases when a person was unfairly charged or the results of tests conducted after an arrest were improperly analyzed or handled, casting doubt on their accuracy.
There are several other strategies for defending yourself against a DUI, but this post should give you a good idea of the factors that are involved in your DUI charges and how they can be challenged. To better assess your situation and the potential defense that may be effective, you can discuss the specific details of your arrest with an attorney.
Source: FindLaw.com, “Defenses to Drunk Driving,” accessed on May 11, 2015