Yes, drunk driving has devastating effects and an arrest for Driving Under the Influence (DUI) is one of the most serious charges a person can face. And one of the most common mistakes that people make after a DUI arrest is to assume the charge is undefeatable. Just because you were arrested for a DUI does not mean you have to be convicted for drunk driving. In many cases, the authorities may have made a mistake and it is entirely possible that you were not technically in violation of the law.
Regardless of the charges, you have rights! Fighting a drunk driving accusation can be overwhelming, even terrifying. The thought of the penalties that range from losing your license to jail time can be traumatic. But there is always a possibility of defeating your DUI charges. In order to do so, however, you need a skilled and experienced legal advocate.
The evidence, or lack of evidence, is often the key to the entire case. An experienced DUI attorney will meticulously evaluate your case and build an individualized and effective defense strategy that challenges the evidence brought against you.
The Lack of Evidence
It is important to remember that a DUI charge does not mean a conviction is inevitable. There are many proven defense strategies available to effectively fight a drinking and driving charge.
A knowledgeable DUI lawyer is aware of the pitfalls that can occur when a person is pulled over for suspected drunk driving. For instance, a capable attorney understands that everyone metabolizes alcohol differently. This makes it extremely difficult to look back in time to accurately pinpoint the blood alcohol level (BAC) at the exact time when the driver was behind the wheel. This difficulty increases with the passage of time and it can become increasingly speculative when trying to isolate the specific level.
Testing for DUI
When pulled over for drunk driving, there are several traditional DUI tests that can be administered. This includes breathalyzers and other chemical evaluations. All these assessments are prone to both human and mechanical error. Additionally, medical conditions, medications, and certain foods can produce false chemical test readings.
Due to the potential inaccuracies of these tests, a driver involved in a DUI arrest should immediately seek the guidance of a lawyer. There are many challenges to the validity of these tests for driving under the influence that only an experienced attorney identify. For example:
Field Sobriety Testing
When pulled over for suspected driving under the influence, the police will likely initiate a field sobriety test (FST). The point of this is to gauge a person’s physical and mental impairment. Basically, the test examines whether the individual is mentally capable of following detailed directions that are given by the officer and whether they are capable of carrying out those instructions.
Field sobriety tests have long been used as a means of determining sobriety, but they are neither scientific nor objective. This test is not required in Arizona, and due to the subjective nature of the tests, they may not be recommended. So, it is almost always in your best interest to decline participation in any and all field sobriety tests. Refusal to participate cannot be used as incrimination against you nor does it authorize an arrest.
There are several physiological factors that could affect a driver’s performance during a sobriety test, including:
- Poor hearing or eyesight
- Weather conditions
- Slippery road surfaces
- Uneven surface
Many of these conditions would make the test deceptive even for a completely sober person.
Breathalyzer devices are not 100% accurate and depend heavily on proper operation. The most basic challenge to breath tests lies in the calibration, maintenance, and accuracy of the testing machine. The results can even be compromised by operator error.
Additionally, a driver who submits to a breath test shortly after having a drink will likely have a higher blood alcohol reading because alcohol residue may remain in the mouth. This is known as residual mouth alcohol and will inflate test results.
The integrity of a blood test hinges on whether the sample was properly collected, stored, and tested. Improper blood-drawing procedures are a common error. In addition, a driver who is pulled over soon after drinking and is given a blood test may have a higher BAC level at the time of the drawing because the alcohol level continues to rise for a period after it has entered the body.
Urine Testing. This is the least reliable method of testing for blood alcohol content. These tests have strict protocols but are prone to human error. In addition, it is common that technicians fail to follow the required procedures, making test results unreliable.
When the Evidence Just Doesn’t Add Up
At West, Longenbaugh, and Zickerman, we understand that being arrested or charged with a crime is frightening and stressful. Your chances of obtaining the most favorable outcome will only be achieved by having a qualified criminal defense attorney with experience in handling DUI cases.
The procedures involved in a DUI case are complex and the cost of losing is high. Let our experienced defense attorneys help guide you every step of the way. Remember, without the proper evidence, you cannot be found guilty of a DUI.
The attorneys at West, Longenbaugh, and Zickerman lead an experienced Criminal Defense Law Firm with over 150 years of combined legal experience. If you have been charged with a DUI or other criminal offense, you need a criminal attorney to protect every right you have under Arizona Law.
Our team of legal experts has handled DUI cases from simple misdemeanor drunk driving to felony cases. We will do all we can to deconstruct the case and uncover the problems and issues that can contribute to a successful DUI defense.
Our lawyers have the skills and compassion to handle difficult legal cases. We understand that defending your rights and liberties is a very serious task and our attorneys work hard to protect your rights every step of the way.
A DUI arrest carries serious penalties and can have lifelong consequences. Contact us now to protect your rights at (520) 790-7337!