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Defending yourself against a drunk driving charge

On Behalf of | Jan 16, 2024 | Criminal Defense

Like most states, Florida takes drunk driving very seriously. A drunk driving conviction could result in large fines, loss of a driver’s license and even jail time.

The penalties get even higher if it is not your first DUI conviction or your blood alcohol level was especially high. Most people cannot afford even the minimum of these penalties.

Additionally, a DUI conviction can affect your career and personal life. You may lose your job if it requires a driver’s license to perform.

Your friends and family might now look at you as someone who has an alcohol problem and treat you differently. You will also now have a criminal record, which could mean less future career and educational opportunities.

These are all reasons why it is vital to fight a DUI charge with the strongest possible defense. But do you have any defenses? Do people actually beat DUI charges?

Depending on your case, you may have one or more defenses available to you. Let’s look at some common ones.

Were you drunk driving or was it something else?

The most obvious defense is that you were not driving drunk. The police must have reasonable suspicion to pull you over.

This means they must see signs that you may be driving drunk. For example, speeding, running a red light or drifting from side to side are typical signs of drunk driving.

When the police pull you over, they continue to look for signs you are driving drunk, such as bloodshot eyes or slurring.

However, none of these are proof of impairment. There are plenty of other explanations. If the prosecution cannot prove these signs meant you were drunk driving, you should not be convicted.

Field sobriety and blood alcohol concentration tests

Challenging field sobriety and breathalyzer tests are other potential defenses. Field sobriety tests are notoriously unreliable.

Field sobriety tests involve performing activities such as walking a straight line, following a light with your eyes or counting backwards from 100. They are designed to measure your balance, coordination and memory.

Many people are extremely nervous after being pulled over and this can cause them to fail these tests. Anxiety, poor roadways, medical issues or various other factors can be used to show that your field sobriety test results are unreliable.

Blood alcohol tests are typically the strongest piece of evidence the prosecution will try to use against you, but there are many issues that can cause a blood alcohol concentration (“BAC”) reading to be unreliable.

The BAC device could have been calibrated wrong or the test might have been improperly administered. Your BAC test results must be carefully analyzed.

The police officer who administered these tests is usually called to testify. You will have a chance to question them on the methods and techniques they used if you want to challenge the accuracy of the results.

Were any of your rights violated?

You have certain rights after you are arrested. If your rights were violated, your entire charge could possibly be thrown out.