Not Guilty: What To Know About DUI Defenses
If you have been arrested and charged with driving under the influence (DUI), you are facing some very serious charges. You should keep in mind that being charged with a crime, such as a DUI, is not the same as being convicted. You will have your day in court, and knowing what might happen may help ease your mind a bit for the time being. Read on to learn about some common defenses that your defense attorney might employ to ensure that justice is done when it comes to your charges.
The Burden of Proof
As the defendant, you should realize that it is the prosecution's job to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. That does not mean, however, that you should not fight the charges with every element of doubt that you and your attorney can raise.
1. You were not driving the vehicle at the time of the arrest. The law states that you must have been operating the vehicle when the offense occurred. If you were pulled over while driving, this defense won't hold water, since it will be obvious from the dash-cam that you were driving the vehicle. If you were not actually operating the vehicle at the time of the arrest, you may have a defense. For example, you may have been parked and "sleeping it off" before you attempted to operate the vehicle.
2. Proper procedure was not followed. Several factors can come into play, and the officer who did the arresting must have not only proper justification for stopping your vehicle, but must also have completed every task of the field sobriety test and the arrest by the book.
3. You were not read your rights. The Miranda Warning must be "read" or given at the time of the arrest, and the wording must be correct and complete. If you can show that you were not properly "warned", the entire case could be thrown out of court. The lack of a Miranda Warning is a real deal breaker for the prosecution.
4. The officer's observations can be challenged. Not only do you have to portray certain behaviors to be stopped in the first place, but the officer will be constantly observing and noting your behavior and characteristics during the traffic stop. It is this together with other evidence, such as a breathalyzer test, that works to prove that law enforcement had reason to detain you and to suspect you of DUI. If you can show that the officer's observations were incorrect, you may weaken the other side's case. For example, there are many medical reasons for bloodshot eyes and problems balancing. Likewise, language barriers can prevent you from understanding the officer's directions.
These are but a few of the common defenses your attorney might employ in the quest to have you exonerated.