5 Effective DUI Defenses in California

5 Effective DUI Defenses in California

Charged with a DUI?

Being charged and convicted of a DUI can be a life-changing and costly event. The ramifications of a DUI conviction can range from huge fines to jail time. Those convicted experience a domino effect of consequences such as:

  • Criminal record
  • Points on their license,
  • Job loss due to imposed jail time,
  • Higher insurance premiums or;
  • Losing driving privileges all together

But, being pulled over after you’ve had an alcoholic beverage doesn’t have to result in a conviction on your record. An experienced Los Angeles DUI attorney can analyze the specific circumstances surrounding your arrest and charges and determine which one of many DUI defenses can be applied to your case.

Below is a list of defenses your lawyer can use to fight prosecutors on your DUI charges:

  • Breathalyzer Test Malfunction

Breathalyzer tests are notorious for malfunctioning due to both human and mechanical error. These machines need to be recalibrated often and failure to do so can result in a false reading.

Did you know?

Once pulled over, the officer is required to observe a DUI suspect for 15-20 minutes before administering a breathalyzer test. This is so the officer can watch for burping, vomiting, or any other behaviors that could cause previously consumed alcohol to resurface in the driver’s mouth prior to the breathalyzer, which would significantly impact the results.

  • Alternative Justifications for Displaying Symptoms of Intoxication or Drunk Driving

Often times the tell-tale signs of a drunk driver can also be indications of another problem or issue. For instance, having blood shot eyes can also be a sign of fatigue, ocular problems such a pink-eye, or allergies.

Officers will also pull over drivers on the suspicion of a DUI for behaviors such as:

  • Swerving
  • Driving too fast or too slow
  • Driving in sporadic increments of slow then fast

These are also the behaviors of drivers who may be:

  • Looking for something in the car
  • Eating
  • Talking on the phone or to people in the car

These behaviors alone are not justification for being accused of or charged with a DUI offense.

  • You weren’t Driving

As obvious as it sounds, the police have to prove that you were actually operating the vehicle to charge you with a DUI. In instances where an officer may find you next to or inside the vehicle, they would have to prove to prosecutors that you had been driving the car while you were intoxicated.

For example: if you were to find yourself inebriated and decided to sleep in your car, you did not actually operate your car and cannot be charged with a DUI, despite the car being registered to you and you being found inside of your vehicle.

  • You weren’t read your Miranda Rights

Anyone who has ever watched an episode of “Cops” or “Law and Order” is familiar with the Miranda Rights, and the number of TV suspects that escape prosecution because an officer failed to read them their rights.

But what many people don’t know is that in cases of a DUI, the police aren’t always required to Mirandize a suspect.

In the case of a DUI, the police are only required to read you your rights:

  • After you’ve been arrested
  • During interrogation (after arrest)

If law enforcement fails to Mirandize you under either of the above-circumstances, an experienced California DUI attorney can argue that that you were not properly read your rights, and help you beat your case, regardless of any other circumstances.

  • Absence of Probable Cause

As is the case in any traffic stop, an officer must have probable cause or, a reason to pull you over.

The officer must be able to swear under oath that they pulled you over due to some sort of bad driving behavior.

To present a case of probable cause the officer must be able to prove the following:

  • He had a reasonable suspicion to pull you over based on your driving patterns, i.e., speed, unsafe lane changing, or swerving.
  • After being pulled over, the officer must be able to verbally express why they suspect you of driving under the influence, i.e., the smell of alcohol on your person or inside the vehicle, slurred speech, erratic behavior.
  • That he had reason to administer a breathalyzer or field sobriety test, and, upon failing, gives the officer probable cause for a DUI arrest.

If any of the above procedures were not followed, your DUI attorney can have the officer’s evidence rendered inadmissible.

Whether you’re a first timer or a repeat offender, being arrested and charged with a DUI offense can have significant, detrimental effects on your life. Shield Criminal Defense Law is here to help. Give us a call today at (213) 514-8732 to be connected to an experienced, aggressive DUI defense attorney.

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