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Understanding five common drunk driving defense strategies

You are facing criminal charges for drunk driving, and you feel terrified. You never thought that you would end up in this position—all you wanted to do was drive from one location to the next after having a few drinks. You may believe that a criminal conviction for DUI or DWI is inevitable. Fortunately, this is far from true.

Many people believe that if they face criminal charges for drunk driving, the case is open and shut: A police officer gave them a breathalyzer, they blew a blood alcohol concentration over the legal limit and they will now be convicted of DUI or DWI. However, there is no such thing as an open-and-shut case, and there are many options for putting up a strong defense against these charges.

Five defenses against DUI and DWI

  • Improper stop

Your attorney may claim that the police officer lacked probable cause to pull you over, invalidating your arrest.

  • Improper administration of breathalyzer or field sobriety tests

Police officers must follow strict procedures when administering a sobriety test. If they do not follow these procedures, the results may not be admissible in court.

  • Inaccurate breathalyzer or field sobriety tests

You can also contend that the results of the breathalyzer or field sobriety tests were not accurate. Intervening factors such as indigestion and vomiting may throw off the results, or the breathalyzer may not be properly calibrated.

  • Rising BAC

If you blew a BAC over the legal limit, your defense may claim that your BAC was at or below the legal limit when you were driving, but rose between the time of the stop and the administration of the test.

  • Unlawful police actions

Finally, a less common defense strategy is to claim that a police officer acted unlawfully by violating your civil rights, fabricating evidence or committing other illegal acts.

Constructing a strong defense

If you face DUI or DWI charges, you do not have to create your defense alone. Many defendants choose to seek outside help in building a successful defense strategy. A strong defense may get your charges dismissed or reduced, or reduce your penalties.

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