Driving under the influence, or DUI, is a very serious charge that can have severe consequences on your life. Avoiding drunk driving altogether is always the best approach, but sometimes bad things happen and people get arrested for DUI. If you were arrested for DUI and you don’t believe you should have been, it’s a good idea to educate yourself on how to fight a DUI. It’s possible that you can win a DUI case and have all the charges dropped. In order to win a DUI case, you first need to understand how DUI defenses work.
Strategies for How to Fight a DUI
The most common ways to fight a DUI are to prove that either you were not operating a vehicle at the time, or you were not “under the influence.” Both of these defenses are rarely applicable and difficult to prove. There are other strategies for how to fight a DUI that could work in some cases, but they are seldom effective. Below are some of the methods people use to attempt to defend a DUI.
Prove You Were Not Driving at the Time
Generally, a person charged with a DUI is pulled over while driving, in which case it’s impossible to prove that you were not driving a vehicle at the time. However, if you were just sitting in the car and not actually driving it, you may have a chance to fight the DUI successfully.
Some states do not care whether you were driving or not, and you can still get a DUI for simply sitting in your car. Other states may require the car to be turned on at the time. It just depends on the state’s DUI laws. Consult with a DUI lawyer to find out about your state’s DUI laws if you were charged with a DUI while you were not driving the car.
Prove the Officer Made an Error
If the arresting officer had no legal justification to stop you or the officer did not follow proper legal procedures during the arrest, then there is a chance the evidence of your intoxication will be ruled “inadmissible.” This can result in the case being dropped altogether.
If you got a DUI, it’s usually wise to find a DUI lawyer and talk about your options. Most DUI lawyers will perform the first consultation for free. This gives you the chance to explain what happened and determine if you might be able to fight a DUI charge because the officer made an error.
Challenge the Credibility of the Officer or the Evidence
Some people attempt to challenge the credibility of the arresting officer, or the evidence collected at the scene. This can be a very difficult path to take—if you choose this defense strategy, you will need some very convincing evidence to prove your argument. For example,if you can provide a more credible witness or possibly video footage of the occurrence, it can help.
A witness may be able to help win your DUI case if they can truthfully testify about one or more of the following things:
- You seemed sober when you were driving
- You did not drink immediately prior to getting in the car
- You have a medical condition that causes the same symptoms as someone who is intoxicated (for example, a person with low blood sugar or a diabetic episode made appear drunk)
Basically, the witness would have to convince a jury that the officer’s account of the arrest is not accurate somehow, which is very difficult to do. The witness would ideally be someone who was sober at the time. If the witness was drunk too, it makes them far less credible. Usually, there isn’t a sober witness available because if you were with someone sober, they likely would have been driving instead.
You may also attempt to challenge the accuracy of a breathalyzer test or other chemical test. Some DUI lawyers have successfully done this, especially if the breathalyzer that was used on the scene was later found to be defective. However, these circumstances are very rare. Breathalyzers, while not 100% accurate all the time, have been proven to be pretty effective at measuring your blood alcohol level.
Prove You Were Not Actually Intoxicated
There are potentially a few explanations that can be offered as to why your behavior or appearance may have given the impression that you were intoxicated, even though you actually were not. These include:
- you did not perform well on field sobriety tests because of physical impairments, injuries, or disabilities
- your eyes were bloodshot because of lack of sleep, allergies, or wearing contacts
- your speech is slurred because of lack of sleep or medications you take
- you did not perform well on field sobriety tests because the instructions were confusing
If the officer performed a blood, urine, or breathalyzer test on the scene, it will be extremely difficult to prove you were not intoxicated. Those chemical tests indicate that you had drugs or alcohol in your system at the time, which is tough to dispute.
Most of the time, it is very difficult to win a DUI case. But, unless you educate yourself on how to fight a DUI, you will never know whether your case is a good one or not.
When trying to win a DUI case, it is best to consult an experienced attorney. There are several DUI defenses and strategies, as listed above. The strategy that works best for you will depend on the details of your case and the laws of the state where you got the DUI. By discussing your DUI with a lawyer, you will give yourself the best chance at defending your DUI successfully.
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