It’s every driver’s worst nightmare.
You’re driving home one evening when you see the red and blue flashing light turn on behind you. After being pulled over, you’re given a breathalyzer test. You’re scared and unsure.
The reading is over the legal limit. What are the ways to fight this? A drinking and driving conviction can seriously damage your future — but it doesn’t have to be that way.
With the help of a qualified lawyer, there are quite a few things you can do to fight your case. With so many technicalities to the law and the intricacies of breath tests, field sobriety testing, and bloodwork, there are often many ways to be let off.
Read on to learn about all the ways you can legally walk away from a drinking and driving charge.
What Is a DUI?
DUI stands for driving under the influence, while DWI stands for driving while intoxicated. You may hear here to two terms used interchangeably.
Each state has limits for BAC, or blood alcohol content. To legally operate a vehicle in that state, you must be under the legal limit. If the police suspect you of driving while over the limit, they may issue a test, either a breath test or a field sobriety test.
How much can you legally drink and drive? Generally, 0.08% is the limit for drivers over the age of 21.
If the tests show that you are impaired, you may be arrested for a DWI. However, there are often many reasons why the case can be thrown out — here are the top ways this might happen.
1. Are You Female?
A little-known is that most breathalyzer machines are calibrated based on the body size and weight of an average man. If you are female, especially if you’re lightweight and petite, this might impact your readings.
Women also metabolize, or process, alcohol at a different rate than men. If you think your reading was inaccurate due to your gender or weight, seek legal advice.
2. Was the Breath Test Accurate?
Sometimes, the breath test machine can malfunction, meaning your test results are not accurate. There are several reasons the reading may not be accurate. Sometimes, electronic interference can impact the machine, or they may be calibrated incorrectly. Common devices used by police, such as AM and FM radios and police radar can interfere with the machines.
If you have two or more readings that were quite different, this is a sign that the breath test isn’t accurate.
Machines often have an error rate as well — if your reading was only slightly over the legal limit, this may be due to machine error.
The police must also have had a probable cause for pulling you over in the first place. That is, you were speeding, have a broken tail light, or are driving erratically. However, if there was no valid reason, this may help the outcome of your case.
If you need help with your case, contact a DWI attorney today.
3. Were Blood Tests Taken?
If you’re arrested as a result of a field sobriety or breath test, the next step might be a blood test. The test must be administered by a trained medical professional to be accurate and should be done at the station or in a medical facility.
With labs, it is not uncommon for lab error. Samples can be contaminated, mishandled, or mislabeled. Samples must also be kept refrigerated at all times. There are a lot of ways blood tests can be thrown out as court evidence, so ask your attorney for advice if you’ve had this done.
4. Can the Police Prove You Were Driving?
For a charge for drinking and driving to hold up in court, the police must be able to prove that you were the one behind the wheel of the car. For example, if there was an accident or if the police arrive once the car has already been parked, it will be very hard for them to prove definitively that you were the driver.
This is also the case if there were multiple passengers in the car, but no one is in the driver’s seat when the police arrive.
5. Did the Police Read Your Miranda Rights?
The Miranda Rights are a legal requirement of your rights that must be read by the police to all criminal suspects at the time of the arrest. This includes your right to remain silent and your right to an attorney.
If your Miranda Rights are not read to you at the time of arrest, there is a good chance your case will be thrown out. This is because any evidence gathered by the police, such as your BAC, is not admissible in court if you were not first read your rights.
If the Miranda procedures were not followed in their entirety, any evidence, statements, or questioning will not be accepted as evidence.
6. Are You Taking Any Medication?
Sometimes, certain medications can impact breath test readings. Substances like mouthwash, oral ulcer medicines, asthma drugs, and breath sprays can cause an incorrect breath reading.
Conditions such as acid reflux and heartburn can also alter readings because they impact the alcohol content in your mouth. Your result may be higher than it should, which can lead to an unfair arrest. Talk to your lawyer about any medicines or health conditions you were suffering at the time of arrest.
Ways to Fight a DUI: Hire Representation
If you or a loved one have been affected by a drunk driving charge, you’re no doubt concerned, scared, and unsure about how to best handle the case.
Now that you know some of the best ways to fight the case, contact an expert lawyer today to get professional and caring help, personalized to your situation. The field of law is complex, so navigate your case with all the necessary facts.
Did you find this article useful? If so, please browse some of our other informative content.