Common DUI Defense Strategies in California
After a drunk driving arrest, you might feel hopeless. While facing an arrest is full of uncertainty, a skilled DUI lawyer can employ effective defense strategies to help you avoid a conviction. These strategies are based on flaws in common prosecution tactics. Our team of Ventura DUI defense attorneys can identify weak evidence, such as sobriety and breathalyzer testing. When a prosecutor presents a strong case against you, we can work tirelessly to recognize any deficiencies in the opposing lawyer's argument.
At Lessem, Newstat & Tooson, LLP we are dedicated to helping our clients by creating aggressive defense cases to obtain the outcomes that they need.
Sometimes, police officers stop a motorist because he/she exhibited driving patterns that seemed consistent with the behavior of a drunk driver. These patterns usually include speeding, driving slowly, weaving in and out of traffic, and making frequent lane changes. In reality, these characteristics do not indicate that a driver is under the influence alcohol or drugs. While these habits may not be safe, they are often committed by sober drivers too. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) does not identify speed, etc., as an indication that a driver is drunk. A skilled DUI defense attorney can demonstrate the weakness of this argument if prosecutors attempt to use it against you in court.
Field Sobriety Testing
Field sobriety testing was developed by the NHTSA to help law enforcement officers identify drunk drivers. There are three basic field sobriety tests: The Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) test, the Walk and Turn, and the One Leg Stand. Although these tests are not always accurate when used by themselves, police are able to identify drunk drivers about 91% of the time when all three sobriety tests are used. However, this means that nearly ten percent of field sobriety tests are inaccurate. For example, a clumsy person could easily fail the "Walk and Turn" test. These inaccurate test methods could easily lead to a wrongful DUI arrest.
False BAC Readings
The term "mouth alcohol" refers to trace amounts of alcohol that remain in your mouth for a short time after coming in contact with an alcoholic substance. Medicines, cough syrup, mouthwash, and acid reflux can cause mouth alcohol. Breath testing is designed to measure the level alcohol in your blood stream by collecting air from inside your lungs. However, breathalyzer tests can be affected by mouth alcohol as well. For example, breath testing may indicate alcohol in your system if you just used mouthwash or cough syrup. Thus, breath testing can easily lead to false BAC readings.
Improper Arrest Procedures
During an arrest, officers are required to follow proper DUI investigation and arrest procedures. If the DUI process is not followed correctly, the arrested could be considered wrongful. For instance, officers must have probable cause to believe that you drove under the influence of alcohol or drugs. An officer might mention the smell or alcohol emanating from the driver's person or an empty alcoholic contain as "probable cause" for DUI. Without probable cause, the prosecution should not be able to convict you of driving under the influence.