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Common DUI Defenses You Should Know About

Were you recently charged with a DUI? According to Statistic Brain, an average of 1,500,000 drivers are arrested annually for driving while under the influence. That comes to about 1,250 people out of every 100,000. Within this number, however, there are those who do not deserve the conviction and who are able to appeal the charge in court.

According to Aaron Black, a Scottsdale, AZ DUI Lawyer, “A DUI on your record can affect your future job prospects.” So it pays to do your research and figure out if you are among those who have a chance of winning a DUI case. The following are common DUI defenses that may apply to your situation.

If your Miranda warning was not read to you.

In some cases, the officers who make the arrest do not follow protocol. The Miranda warning is a compilation of statements that lets you know of your rights upon being arrested. The arresting officer must tell you the following points:

  • That you can remain silent.
  • That what you say might be used against you in court.
  • That you have the right to a lawyer being present during questioning.
  • That a lawyer will be appointed to you if you cannot afford one yourself.

If, at the time of arrest, your Miranda rights were not quoted to you. And you say something incriminating, then that incriminating statement may be thrown out when it reaches the court.

If there was no probable cause for your arrest.

In most cases, officers must provide probable cause to approach and stop your vehicle. Particularly if they mean to charge you with driving while under the influence. In many cases, they will flag a vehicle that is speeding, or that is not following traffic signals, or in some other way appears to have broken a law. The exception to this would be DUI checkpoints, where police stop drivers without needing probable cause.

If, however, a police officer pulls you over without a valid reason, the case may be deemed inadmissible. Often, the probable cause arises from field sobriety tests or from breathalyzers results. Or from assessing the driver's behavior. If you have had a field sobriety test or a breathalyzer taken, then it may be difficult to challenge your DUI. But if neither was taken, and the cases rests on the officer's testimony of your behavior, then this brings us to our next DUI defense.

If the officer's testimony is not an accurate assessment of what took place.

Was your DUI charge based on an officer's testimony and not on field test results or that of a breathalyzer? It is possible that the officer's observations may be inaccurate. Can you provide the witness of a second person who was also present and who can provide a different perspective on your behavior? It may be that what the officer saw and concluded as drunken behavior could have plausible explanations. For example, in some cases, certain disabilities or mental issues can give the appearance of intoxication. And there may be other reasons for the smell of alcohol about your person.

If you were sleeping in your car, not driving.

Were you sleeping off the effects of a late-night party in your car? Were you not found to be driving your vehicle at the time of the arrest? This one may apply to you. Many drivers will, in fact, sleep a couple hours in their car, before returning home, to get the alcohol out of their system and avoid impaired driving.

States differ on the definition of the terms "operating," but for the most part there must be proof that you were driving while under the influence. Juries will evaluate whether the driver was driving impaired, or if the driver was sleeping as claimed.

If there is an acceptable reason for believing the test results are not accurate.

Charged with a DUI based on probable cause gleaned from a breathalyzer test? The results of the test can be challenged if there were medications that could have altered the results in a significant way. Field test results and breathalyzers play a large role in the case made against you. But studies have proven that results can vary, depending on the person. Because of this unreliability, most DUI lawyers recommend that drivers should not submit to getting tested. Many drivers are unaware that there is no law requiring them to take the breathalyzer test. Get educated on your rights.

Protect your future by getting in contact with a trusted DUI attorney who can help you fight your charge.


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