Are you worried about what the drunk driving charges that have been levied against you will mean for your future? It’s understandable if you are, especially given the severe penalties that can be implemented if you’re found guilty of criminal wrongdoing. After all, a conviction can lead to jail or prison time, license suspension or revocation, loss of employment and damage to your reputation. These allegations can even affect pending family law issues, such as those pertaining to child custody.
How can you best defend yourself?
Fortunately, there are ways that you may be able to effectively defend yourself against aggressive prosecutorial action. Here are some common strategies that may help you in your case:
- The traffic stop that led to your arrest was illegal: Before the police can stop you, they have to have reasonable suspicion that you’ve broken the law in some fashion. If they lack that reasonable suspicion, every piece of evidence gathered after that point will likely be deemed tainted by that illegality, meaning that the court probably won’t let the prosecution use it against you. This can include breath test and field sobriety test results. So, make sure you assess the purpose behind your initial traffic stop.
- Breath test machinery wasn’t working properly: Breath test machines are notoriously inaccurate. Although they should be properly stored and maintained, law enforcement agencies tend to cut corners in these areas, which can lead to faulty equipment being utilized out in the field. Therefore, as you navigate your case, you might want to consider whether the police have proper documentation of how they took care of their breath test machinery.
- Field sobriety tests were improperly administered: Field sobriety tests are used by the police to gather evidence of intoxication, which they may then use to obtain a warrant for a breath or blood test. However, far too often, police officers give bad instructions prior to administering a test, or they simply misinterpret test results. Either way, a poorly handled field sobriety test could put you at risk of conviction unless you fight against it.
- Failure to implement the observation period: In most instances, the police have to wait for a specified period of time before administering a breath test. The purpose is to ensure that the test is given after the subject of the test has stopped burping or regurgitating, actions that could give an inaccurate breath alcohol reading. But if the police fail to wait for that amount of time and actually observe your behavior in those minutes, you may be able to draw the reliability of the breath test results into question.
- Your medical condition made you appear intoxicated: There are a lot of medical conditions out there that can leave you with symptoms that to the untrained and unknowing officer may appear to be indicative of intoxication. Diabetes, for example, can lead to slurred speech and confusion. Don’t let your medical condition lead to a drunk driving conviction.
Know how to protect your interests in your drunk driving case
Even if you feel like there’s no way you can beat the evidence that’s being presented against you in your drunk driving case, you might have legal avenues to either beat the prosecution or at least minimize the impact of their arguments. That’s why before you make any sort of admission or agree to any kind of plea deal you should speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney about your drunk driving defense options.