There are a variety of defenses which may prevent the state from showing that a DUI offense has occurred. Despite societal attitudes and the overreaching legislation championed by several groups, it must be remembered that DUI is a criminal offense, and the accused has a right to be presumed innocent until the state proves otherwise. In this regard, the traditional criminal defenses apply.
These include identity, alibi, impossibility, coercion, justification, and lack of probable cause.
Specific to DUI are failures to properly advise of implied consent rights, failures to properly administer field sobriety tests, failure to administer the state chemical test, failure of chain of custody of chemical test samples, and failure to properly store and transport chemical test samples.
A number of other defenses to DUI have arisen over the years:
The "No Carbohydrate/Low Carbohydrate" Defense
The "Prescribed Medication" Defense
The "Defective Machine" Defense
The "Bladder" Defense
The "Radio Frequency Interference" Defense
and many others
A competent DUI lawyer will need to know more about your case than when it happened, what court, and whether you can pay his fee and the court's fine. It is necessary to know everything that occurred factually in order to give you the advice that you need.
There are certain major areas of interest which can lead to the discovery of holes in the State's case.
- Where had you been?
- What had you had to eat?
- How many drinks did you have and when?
- Where were you coming from and going to?
- Was this an area you were familiar with?
- Were you taking any medication?
- Do you have any health problems? (Asthma, ulcers, gastrointestinal problems and other health conditions can effect chemical test results)
- Do you work around chemicals or paints, etc.?
- Have you ever been charged with DUI in the past?
- Were you on any special diets?
Stop and Arrest
- Where was the stop?
- How long was it from the lights coming on until you pulled over?
- What reason did the officer give for the stop?
- What did the officer say and do?
- Were there field sobriety tests? Which ones, in what order, and with what results?
- When did the officer tell you that you were under arrest?
- Did he read you an implied consent warning? What exactly did he or she say?
- Did the officer question you after telling you that you were under arrest?
- Did you say anything that admitted more than minimal consumption of alcohol?
- Did the officer request that you submit to a chemical test? Which ones?
- Did you consent to a chemical test?
- Did you request an additional test?
- Did you receive an additional test?
- How were the chemical tests done?
- Where were the chemical tests done?
- What were the results of the chemical tests?
- Was anything said about the consequences
Answers to these and other questions may reveal the weakness in the State's case that will protect you from a DUI conviction. The results of the chemical tests may be suppressed, that is not used in evidence against you. Statements that you made to the police officer might be subject to suppression. Any prior convictions might be kept out of evidence. But that can't happen, if the DUI lawyer doesn't know everything about your case.
A good DUI lawyer must be thorough and creative in approaching your case to find the defense or defenses which are most likely to lead to a successful result in your case.