Being accused of driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs or alcohol can lead to restricted driving rights, fewer job opportunities, and time behind bars.
But what if you didn’t actually drive while under the influence? Some who face arrest and DUI charges suffer the same consequences, even if their conviction was false or unfair.
That’s why it’s crucial to learn how to beat a DUI to protect yourself and your future. Read on to find out the best ways to challenge a DUI charge.
Work With a DUI Lawyer
There are several strategies to try when challenging a DUI case. But there’s one thing you should know: they’re unlikely to work without the help of a lawyer.
A lawyer who’s experienced in DUI cases knows how to navigate the court process with their immense knowledge on the law and your legal rights. Even if it’s your second or third offense, a lawyer can be critical in winning your DUI case.
They may help you avoid jail time, lower your fines, or scrub your DUI charge from your record altogether.
But remember, each state and region is different, so be sure to work with a legal representative based in the same location as your DUI charge. For example, those residing in Alabama can read more on alabamaduidefense.com.
Challenge Faulty Breathalyzer Results
Many DUI charges rely on breathalyzer results. A breathalyzer is a device that reads blood alcohol content levels via a breath sample.
Because breathalyzers are so common in DUI arrests, they’re also one of the best things to focus on when deciding how to beat a DUI in court. Malfunctioning or a lack of proper maintenance can impact the effectiveness of these devices, sometimes creating faulty results.
Breathalyzers may also be wrong if they pick up alcohol from a source like mouthwash or breath spray. Other things that can interfere with breathalyzer results include:
- oral anesthetics
- chemical fumes
- asthma medications
- over-the-counter medications containing alcohol
It’s even possible for some health conditions to trick a breathalyzer into thinking you’re under the influence. This can include GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), general heartburn and acid reflux, auto-brewery syndrome, and diabetes or diet-related ketosis.
Finally, your breathalyzer results may be challenged if you took the test long after you were initially pulled over. Because alcohol levels gradually rise after drinking, you may have been sober enough to drive when pulled over but not when given a breathalyzer much later. Any breathalyzer test that is given long after you were on the road should be questioned in court.
Highlight an Illegal Stop
Even if you were found to be driving under the influence, it’s possible to challenge an illegal stop that shouldn’t have happened in the first place.
All drivers have certain rights, which is why police must have reasonable evidence to support their decision to stop you when driving. Having a “hunch” isn’t enough reason for an officer to pull you over.
If there wasn’t a reasonable cause for your traffic stop, you can highlight this fact in your court case. In some jurisdictions, this may allow the court to throw out any evidence that was collected illegally from your traffic stop, helping you beat your DUI charge.
Question the Reasons for Suspicion
Sometimes, police don’t use a breathalyzer, especially in the case of a suspected drug DUI. Instead, they may look for signs of intoxication such as red eyes, slurred speech, or erratic behavior.
However, many of these reasons for suspicion can and should be questioned. There are many ways to explain these signs, such as having dry eyes, taking legal medications, or being under stress.
Even driving-related reasons, such as running a stop sign or speeding, aren’t grounds for a DUI charge. Though these behaviors may result in another traffic violation charge, they shouldn’t be mistaken for driving under the influence without sufficient evidence.
State That You Weren’t Driving
This may seem obvious enough, but a DUI requires driving under the influence. Being in a vehicle or being the passenger while another friend drives shouldn’t lead to a DUI charge.
If you weren’t driving when police found you in your car, be sure to state this clearly in your case. Even if you were involved in an accident while parked, and you were under the influence, this is typically not sufficient reasoning for being given a DUI.
Explain a Failed Field Sobriety Test
When police don’t use a breathalyzer, they may use a field sobriety test to gauge how drunk or high a driver may be. These tests involve tasks like walking in a straight line or standing on one foot.
It’s possible to fail these tests without being under the influence. Disabilities, medical conditions, age, and other factors may cause some to perform poorly in a field sobriety test.
Explain why you failed your test, citing a medical condition or other reason that invalidated your test.
Use the Miranda Rule
You may have heard that police must read your Miranda rights when placing you under arrest, called the Miranda rule.
If you weren’t read your Miranda rights, you can still be convicted of a crime. But anything you said while taken into custody can’t be held against you.
So even if you told police that you drank whisky before driving, for example, this cannot count as evidence if you weren’t told your Miranda rights.
How to Beat a DUI and Reclaim Your Life
A DUI can turn your life upside down. But you may be able to escape charges if you know how to beat a DUI.
Use the tips discussed here when making your case to protect yourself and your rights.
For more legal advice, check out our other blog posts!