DUI charges can have a life-changing impact. You will deal with a suspended license, expensive insurance, fines, court costs, DUI school, a criminal record and damaged reputation and possible jail time if you are convicted of a DUI. Avoiding these consequences should be a top priority for anyone who is arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol.
Fortunately, you are innocent until proven guilty in the United States, and the burden is on the prosecutor to prove that you are guilty of a DUI. This gives you a number of viable options for defending yourself against the charges that you face. An experienced Birmingham DUI defense attorney can evaluate the circumstances surrounding your DUI and arrest and can help you to explore what defenses may be best for you. At the Eversole Law Office, we have successfully defended clients throughout Jefferson, Madison and Shelby counties as well as throughout the rest of Alabama and we are well versed in all of the different ways to fight and win a DUI.
10 Ways to Fight and Win a DUI
While every case is different, DUI defendants have had success in fighting and winning a DUI using each of the following ten defenses or arguments:
- Lack of probable cause for the stop: The Fourth Amendment protects you against unreasonable search and seizure. This means law enforcement must have had probable cause to pull you over. If they didn't, then you can argue any evidence collected should be kept out of court. No evidence = no conviction.
- Lack of probable cause for the arrest: Police also must have probable cause to arrest you. This can include obvious signs of intoxication or failure of field sobriety tests (which you do not have to submit to). If police don't have a justifiable reason to arrest you (or to make you take a chemical test after arrest), then any evidence collected cannot be used against you.
- Other constitutional rights violations: You have a number of rights under the law including the right to a Miranda Warning when taken into custody, and the right to remain silent. If police violated any of your rights, this can be used to keep evidence out of court.
- Problematic field sobriety tests: Field sobriety tests are notoriously unreliable. You may fail the tests because of a medical problem or test anxiety or simply because the tests are subjective and law enforcement fails to adequately assess whether you are intoxicated or not. You can argue against the accuracy of the test and, in some cases, use evidence from dashboard cameras and videos to introduce proof that the test wasn't properly performed or that you didn't really fail.
- Inaccurate breath test: Breath tests are notoriously inaccurate and you can find an expert witness to testify as to problems with your breath test. If the breath test wasn't correctly calibrated; the officer not properly trained; or some physiological factor such as having diabetes or acid reflux affected your test, you can have the results thrown out or introduce doubt as to their accuracy.
- Improperly administered sobriety checkpoint Sobriety checkpoints are constitutional- but only if law enforcement acts fairly and not in an arbitrary or capricious manner in determining who to pull over. If you can show that there were no standard rules in place or that law enforcement targeted you, this may be seen as a violation of your constitutional rights that can lead to evidence against you being kept out of court.
- Other Improper evidence handling: Strict rules must be followed to ensure that any chemical test you submit to is not contaminated and that any evidence in your DUI case is not tampered with. If the chain of custody is broken or evidence collection rules are not followed, the evidence may be thrown out or may not be used to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
- Lack of impairment. Often, booking room videos or other evidence from the arrest can be used to prove that you were not actually impaired or intoxicated at the time when you were driving the vehicle.
- Inconsistent Officer. If the officer makes inconsistent statements or other errors in recording the circumstances of the DUI arrest or testifying in court, you can use these inconsistent statements to challenge his credibility and introduce doubt as to your guilt.
- Failure to prove the DUI charge. Remember, you do not have to prove your innocence- the prosecutor has to prove your guilt. If the prosecutor fails to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, you cannot be found guilty of a DUI. If you can chip away at the evidence or introduce questions in the juries mind, you will be successful at introducing doubt and achieving a not-guilty verdict.
The right DUI defense or combination of DUI defenses is going to depend on the circumstances surrounding your arrest and your DUI. This is why it is always advisable to work with an experienced DUI attorney.
At the Eversole Law Office, we have been able to successfully help many clients to raise defenses and fight DUI charges in order to get charges dropped or to win a not-guilty verdict. The sooner we take a case, the sooner we can begin to work with you to build evidence for a DUI defense or to negotiate a plea bargain. That's why it's important to contact Steven Eversole as soon as you know you'll face boating DUI charges in Alabama. You can call us toll-free, fill out our confidential online case evaluation form or visit our office in downtown Birmingham.