If you have been arrested and charged with driving under the influence it is not hopeless nor a guarantee that you will be convicted. This is true even if your even if your BAC was over .08%. There are a number of defenses that may apply to your case and an experienced and knowledgeable DUI defense attorney, like Richard Lawson, will look at all aspects of your case in order to determine what challenges to raise. The challenges or defenses that are appropriate in a particular case will depend on the facts and circumstances of that case. This page will give an overview of some of the various DUI Defenses that could be used.
There are numerous aspects of a DUI case that can be challenged by a Roswell DUI Attorney. These include:
- The Traffic Stop: A police officer needs a reason to pull your over. If the officer had not reason to stop you in the first place, this can be used as a defense to a DUI charge. If, at the time you were pulled over, you were obeying the rules of the road, then it is unlikely that you were too intoxicated to be behind the wheel. Some common traffic violations that law enforcement officers will pull people over for in a DUI case are failure to maintain a lane and making an improper lane change. However, committing a traffic infraction does not mean that you were driving impaired. In addition, in Georgia driver's only need to signal is only required in Georgia if there is another car around. The failure to signal when you are the only car on the road may not be a sufficient reason to pull you over.
- The Roadblock: There are specific constitutional requirements that must be followed when law enforcement conducts a DUI checkpoint. For example, the roadblock must have a legitimate purpose and all cars must be stopped. If these protocols are not followed, then the roadblock may have been impermissible and this can result in your case being dismissed.
- Avoidance Of The Roadblock: If a police officer thinks you are attempting to avoid a DUI checkpoint, the officer may pull you over, assuming that you are trying to avoid the checkpoint in order to avoid being arrested. However, in order to pull you for avoiding a roadblock, the officer needs to have a reasonable, articulable suspicion that this was in fact what you were doing. In addition, you may have needed to turn around near a DUI checkpoint or turn onto a side street for any number of reasons. You may have forgotten something or may have turned because that was the direction that you were intending to go. If you didn't commit any traffic infractions when you made the turn, then a law enforcement officer may have no reason to stop you.
- The Field Sobriety Test: One method often used to determine intoxication are field sobriety tests. Common tests that an officer may have you perform include: the horizontal gaze nystagmus test, the walk and turn test, and the one leg stand test. You ability to successfully complete these tests will help an officer decide if you are driving impaired. However, there are many reasons that people may fail a field sobriety test or perform poorly on a test. A person can do poorly or fail even if he or she is perfectly sober. Some people have a naturally occuring nystagmus or their nystagmus may be caused by a medication. A person's age or weight can also affect a person's ability to perform field sobriety tests well. Another factor can be environmental conditions such as bad weather, hills, and poor lighting.
- The Portable Breath Test: The numerical results of a portable breath test are not admissible in court, but these tests are used to help officers determine if you are under the influence. An officer can only testify as to whether the device detected alcohol on your breath and cannot state the number that the device registered. Moreover, only approved devices can be used to test people suspected of DUI.
- The Implied Consent Notice: Like most states, Georgia has an implied consent statute. This statue requires an individual who has been arrested for DUI to submit to a chemical test in order to determine his or her blood alcohol level. Your consent is 'implied' when you drive on the roads of the state. Before asking you to take the test, officers are required to read you the implied consent notice. If the officer does not read the notice, the notice is not the current or correct version, or the officer otherwise does not follow protocol, you may be able to get the the results of the chemical test suppressed.
- The Chemical Test Itself: A number of things can affect the results of a chemical test and therefore its admissibility. If the test equipment that is being used to determine a DUI suspect's BAC levels is not functioning properly or has not been properly maintained then the results of the test may not be correct. Additionally, if you must be given the chemical test within a certain time period, three hours in Georgia, or the results may not be admissible as evidence against you. Others things that may affect the test results include residual mouth alcohol, medical conditions like gastric reflux, or even substances like mints or denture adhesive.
- Lack Of A Warrant On A Blood Test: The United States Supreme Court recently decided the case of Birchfield v. North Dakota. In this case, the court held that a driver cannot give implied consent to a blood test because of the invasive nature of the test. To get a blood sample, the court stated that a police officer should first get a warrant. However, the court also held that warrantless breath tests are still permissible as searches incident to arrest.
- Refusing A Chemical Test: You can also challenge you refusal to submit to a chemical test.You may have been found to have refused when this was not your intention. For example, silence could be misconstrued as refusing to take the test when you are really only thinking over what you want to do.
These are just a few examples of the various defenses that a knowledgeable defense attorney can raise in your DUI case. Again, what defenses are applicable to your case will depend on what happened. If you or a loved one are facing charges for driving under the influence in Roswell or Alpharetta, please do not hesitate to contact Alpharetta DUI Attorney Richard Lawson today. You can give us a call at (404) 816-4440 or contact us online.