Three Arguments Your Lawyer May Make To Ensure You're Not Convicted Of A DUI
If you've been charged with a DUI, the thought that you could serve jail time or huge fines if convicted may be overwhelming. However, if you have a good lawyer on your side, you can probably plead "not guilty." The judge will likely either find you "not guilty," drop the charges completely, or work out a plea deal in which you plea guilty of a lesser charge -- like speeding. Here are three arguments your lawyer might make in your defense.
The officer did not have a right to pull you over.
A police officer can't just pull you over on a whim. They have to have reasonable suspicion that you are committing a crime in order to detain you, and pulling you over in your car is classified as a detention. If the officer pulled you over, asked if you'd been drinking, and did not explain exactly what you'd done wrong, your lawyer may argue that the stop was illegal.
Even if the police officer did tell you why you were being pulled over (you hit the white line, you were swerving, etc), your lawyer may find evidence that this reason was false. For example, there may be a red light camera that shows you did not, in fact, hit the white line before the officer pulled you over. If your lawyer can prove that the stop was illegal, that means any evidence collected after that stop, such as the results of your breathalyzer test and field sobriety test, cannot be used in court. And without that evidence, you can't really be convicted of a DUI.
The results of the tests that "prove" you were drunk are unreliable.
In most cases, the "evidence" that you were intoxicated behind the wheel will consist of the officer's statements and the results of a breathalyzer test. Your lawyer may make the case that the breathalyzer are not reliable. For instance, perhaps the instrument has not been calibrated in a year. Maybe the test was administered by someone who never received training to use the machine.
Your lawyer can also argue that the officer's observation of your "symptoms of drunkenness" is unreliable. Maybe the officer stated that you were stuttering and slurring your words. Your lawyer may show that you slur your words and stutter whenever you are nervous, and that therefore this should not be accepted as proof you were drunk. If your lawyer can get a few pieces of evidence against you thrown out, the case against you won't be nearly as strong.
You were not read your Miranda warnings properly.
This is the one you see on television all of the time. Surprisingly, it actually does happen sometimes. The police are required to recite the Miranda warning before you are arrested; otherwise, the evidence they collect during that interrogation cannot be used in trial. Note that the rights must be read only before you are brought under police custody. When you're sitting in your vehicle, pulled over and being questioned, you are not under police custody, so anything you say during that time can be used during the trial. However, if you end up being handcuffed and arrested, the police must recite your rights at that point. If they just arrest you and keep questioning you without reading your rights, your lawyer may get the evidence collected after that point dismissed -- often resulting in your case being thrown out.
DUI cases can be complicated. To determine the best defense for your case, your lawyer will ask you a lot of questions about what happened that night. Make sure you answer them honestly and in detail so he or she can help you properly. If you are looking for a lawyer to represent your case, consider a firm like Winstein, Kavensky & Cunningham, LLC.