5 Defenses to a DUI Charge

Published: Sep 07, 2017, by admin in DUI, Legal Blog

A conviction for driving under the influence will have devastating consequences on your life. From possible jail time, to a suspended license, to crippling fines, you may not be able to get back on your feet once the dust settles. For this reason, it’s essential to aggressively fight your charges by using one or more DUI defenses. Talk to a Chicago DUI lawyer about possible defenses for your charges.

Every DUI case is different, but with experience, criminal defense attorneys begin to see patterns in their cases. The police and the prosecution tend to make the same kinds of mistakes. In turn, some defense strategies reveal themselves to be more effective than others. If you have been arrested for or charged with a DUI, contact a Chicago DUI lawyer at O’Meara Law LLC today at 312-909-0706.

Here are five of the best ways to fight a DUI charge:

1. Arguing that Your Traffic Stop Was Illegal

In America, the police are only allowed to pull over a vehicle and its driver if they have a reasonable suspicion that the driver has done something illegal. The police cannot pull you over on a hunch that you might be drunk driving–they must have seen you running a traffic light, speeding, swerving, or doing something else suspicious. If the officer who pulled you over cannot satisfactorily explain why they pulled you over, any and all evidence from that traffic stop can be suppressed from the case.

2. Identifying an Unreasonable Search and Seizure

Under the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution, the authorities are not allowed to conduct unreasonable searches and seizures of property or people. Any evidence that is collected while the police are conducting an unreasonable search or seizure is inadmissible at a criminal trial. But prosecutors may try to use such evidence anyway. It’s up to your criminal defense lawyer to request the suppression of that illegal evidence.

3. Challenging the Field Sobriety Test

Field sobriety tests were an attempt at developing a consistent and objective method for determining whether a driver is intoxicated. When a driver fails a field sobriety test, the police gain the probable cause necessary to make an arrest and to give the subject a more accurate blood alcohol content (BAC) test at the police station or a medical facility. If the police cannot show they had probable cause to arrest you, the DUI charges won’t stick.

Field sobriety tests are notoriously unreliable. A skilled criminal defense attorney may be able to show that the field sobriety tests failed to provide the police with the probable cause necessary to arrest you. For example, you could have failed the field sobriety test because of fatigue, the effect of your medication, disorientation from flashing lights, impractical footwear, uneven pavement, or just plain stress.

4. Questioning the Chemical Test Results

Once the police arrest you for DUI, they will need to collect the evidence necessary to establish beyond a reasonable doubt that you were driving drunk. The best evidence they can get is a sample of your blood, breath, or urine. For this reason, the police will give you one or more chemical tests once you’re in custody.

Fortunately, the results of these tests may be invalidated if your lawyer can demonstrate that:

  • The testing equipment was poorly calibrated or maintained
  • Your test result was within the equipment’s margin of error (often +/- 10 percent)
  • Your BAC test was given too long after you were driving, which is relevant because BAC continues to rise for hours after drinking, so it’s possible you were still under the limit when you were behind the wheel
  • The person giving you the test was not properly trained
  • The police lacked probable cause to arrest you and to give you the test in the first place
  • Your blood or urine sample was not properly labeled and stored

5. Showing That the Police Did Not Respect Your Fifth Amendment Rights

We’ve all heard it on TV and in the movies: “You have the right to remain silent, anything you say can and will be used against you, and you have the right to an attorney present…” These words aren’t just for dramatic effect. The police must inform you of your rights when they arrest you–and then respect these rights. If the police fail to inform you of or respect your rights, the information you gave at your arrest and the ensuing criminal charges may be thrown out.

When the police question you at the roadside, you are under no legal obligation to answer their questions. When they arrest you, the police must read you your “Miranda” rights. If you decline to answer questions and ask for the assistance of a lawyer, the police must stop questioning you. If they continue to question you, any answers you give may be inadmissible evidence at your DUI trial.

A Chicago DUI Lawyer Can Help You

O’Meara Law LLC is dedicated to defending client rights at every stage of the criminal justice process. With attorney Michael O’Meara’s proven track record of achieving dismissals, acquittals, and beneficial plea deals for DUI suspects, you have a good chance at receiving the best case outcome possible.

Call O’Meara Law LLC today at 312-909-0706 for a free and confidential consultation.