Defense of a DUI involves the careful analysis of the facts in a particular case. There are numerous stages in a DUI case which present opportunities to assert your constitutional and statutory rights to reduce or eliminate the charge. The assertion of these rights is generally through a motion to suppress evidence.
Initially, the prosecution in a DUI case must be able to establish that the underlying traffic stop was valid. This may be easily accomplished by establishing a traffic violation or reasonable suspicion of criminal activity. To continue detaining someone for investigation of DUI after an initial stop and conduct field sobriety tests, the officer must be able to point to reasonable and articulable facts that justify the intrusion. Commonly, an officer will rely upon the driving infraction, an odor of alcohol, glassy eyes, and slurred speech, among other factors.
Next, assuming the officer’s DUI investigation was proper, there still must exist probable cause to arrest a suspect for DUI. To justify a DUI arrest, all of the evidence collected and observed during the stop is considered to establish whether an objective observer would believe the crime of driving under the influence was being committed. If there is no probable cause to arrest for DUI, this can severely impede prosecution.
Although there are options for officers to request urine or blood tests, the vast majority of cases involve the taking or refusal of a breathalyzer, although this may be changing with the recent drugged driving legislation. The taking of the breath, blood, or urine samples is regulated by statute and certain procedures must be followed in order for the evidence to be used in court. Absent substantial compliance, the evidence is inadmissible in court.
While DUI cases are generally fact specific, even two similar DUI cases can have vastly different outcomes depending on how a defense is presented. Effectively presenting a defense of a DUI requires the skill to recognize issues in a case, to research and write persuasive motions to suppress evidence, and to effectively litigate the issues in court. Contact my office to begin your DUI defense.