4 Defense Strategies To Minimize The Impact Of DUI Charges
Drunk driving is more than a road hazard that claims thousands of lives every year. It has a far-reaching impact on the American economy. Did you know that the deaths and damages caused by drinking and driving cost a whopping $44 billion annually?
The worst part is that it kills both victims and negligent drivers. According to 2020 statistics, 26.8% of drivers killed or seriously injured in crashes had alcohol in their bloodstream.
The legal system has valid reasons to deal with DUI offenders strictly. Most states have stringent regulations and massive penalties for DUI to dissuade people from driving under the influence and ensure better road safety. If you are on the wrong side, expect hefty fines, license suspension, and even jail time.
However, you can minimize the legal consequences of DUI charges by adopting an effective defense strategy. This article highlights the best ones you can rely on to secure a more favorable outcome.
Dispute The Legitimacy Of The Traffic Stop
As a rule, law enforcement authorities must have a valid reason to stop a driver for DUI checks. These include a traffic violation or reasonable doubt of impairment. However, the authorities cannot stop you arbitrarily or without proper justification. If they do so, the evidence collected may be deemed inadmissible in court.
Many DUI lawyers challenge the legitimacy of the initial traffic stop as a defense strategy to protect their clients. They scrutinize the circumstances leading to the stop to look for procedural errors or constitutional violations. In case of such issues, they can undermine the prosecution’s case without much effort.
Challenge The Accuracy Of Field Sobriety Tests
Field sobriety tests (FSTs) assess a driver’s level of impairment during a DUI stop. Alcohol-impaired driving laws state that a person driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) over a specified level can be held for a DUI offense.
According to DUI laws in Colorado, a BAC exceeding 0.08 g/dL is considered DUI per se. Utah follows the limit of 0.05 g/dL for pressing charges against drunk drivers.
The Moorhead Law Group recommends working with a seasoned DUI lawyer with expertise in these cases and an in-depth understanding of the state-specific laws. They can defend you by disputing the reliability and accuracy of FSTs. These tests are subjective, with their results depending on several factors, such as the individual’s physical condition, medical issues, and weather conditions.
A skilled lawyer can use these factors to question the conditions under which the tests were conducted. They may also pinpoint the possibility of potential bias or raise a concern regarding the officer’s training. A seed of doubt is enough to affect the prosecution’s case.
Question The Arresting Officer’s Observation
According to the Office of Justice Programs, law enforcement officers need to ask the right questions, know what to look for, and document the correct evidence to gain DUI convictions. They also have to make detailed observations of the driver’s appearance and behavior during the traffic stop. However, not all officers excel on these fronts. It always leaves room for error in DUI arrests and convictions.
Your lawyer can question the officer’s subjective interpretations as a valid defense strategy. These officers are prone to human errors and lapses in judgment. For example, they may mistake medical conditions, fatigue, or stress for signs of impairment. The attorney cross-examines the arresting officer to seek inconsistencies in their testimony and provide alternative explanations for observed behaviors.
Explore Rehabilitation And Diversion Programs
Rehabilitation and diversion programs can be a wise move when you cannot rely on other defense strategies. It entails seeking treatment for substance abuse issues and enrolling in a counseling program. Completing such programs can lead to reduced charges or sentencing as they show the commitment to address the root issues like alcohol or drug dependency.
Besides undergoing substance abuse treatment, you can complete an educational course about road safety and the dangers of drinking and driving. The court may also ask you to submit regular drug and alcohol tests as a part of the programs. Your attorney can advocate for the consideration of a diversion program. However, diversions may not be an option if you have prior DUI convictions or pending criminal charges.
In conclusion, you must have a strategic and comprehensive defense plan to minimize the impact of DUI charges. Each case is unique, and an experienced DUI defense lawyer can recommend the best strategy for your circumstances. Choosing a relevant plan can help you increase the chances of achieving a more favorable outcome with minimum penalties and reduced punishment.