You’ve been arrested for a DUI, you’ve bonded out of jail, but now what? Whether this is your first arrest or you’ve been through the judicial system before, it’s understandable to be nervous about your future.
While getting arrested for a DUI is always serious, the more knowledge you have about the criminal justice process and defense strategies, the more at ease you should be as you go through it. Keep reading to learn more about typical DUI defense strategies used in Florida.
Establishing A Defense Strategy
Before we go into some typical DUI defense strategies, you should understand how a defense strategy is created, as it will vary from case to case.
Analyzing The Facts And Evidence Of The Case
The first step in formulating an effective defense strategy involves carefully analyzing the facts and evidence of the case. This includes reviewing police reports, witness statements, field sobriety test results, and other relevant evidence. By thoroughly examining these details, your defense attorney can identify potential inaccuracies, inconsistencies, or gaps that could weaken the prosecution's case and strengthen your defense.
Additionally, your attorney can use the details of your case to determine if evidence was obtained improperly or in violation of your constitutional rights. If so, your attorney can present this defense in court and file a motion to suppress the evidence.
Identifying Weaknesses In The Prosecution's Case
Once the facts and evidence have been analyzed, the next step is identifying any weaknesses in the prosecution's case. By exposing these weaknesses, your attorney can create reasonable doubt and potentially persuade the prosecution to reduce or dismiss the charges.
Your attorney will assess the overall strength of the prosecution's case. If the evidence against you is weak or has potential flaws, your attorney can use this information to convince a jury of your innocence during trial proceedings.
Exploring Legal Defenses And Procedural Issues
The final step in establishing a DUI defense strategy is shortlisting your potential defenses and identifying any possible procedural issues. We consider everything else we’ve determined about your case up until this point such as weaknesses in the states case and the evidence, and will determine the best path forward for your trial.
The Importance Of A Strong Defense
The need for a strong defense cannot be overstated when facing DUI charges. A well-prepared and well-presented defense not only increases the chances of a favorable outcome but also ensures that all aspects of your case are thoroughly examined and challenged.
The Impact A DUI Charge Can Have On Your Life
Depending on the severity of the offense and where you live, you can expect a DUI charge to end with you facing fines, having your driver's license suspended or revoked, or landing you in jail. It can also require you to attend mandatory alcohol education or community service.
Besides immediate consequences, a criminal conviction can restrict employment opportunities when disclosing your criminal history on job applications later. It can also tarnish your reputation and hinder future prospects, including obtaining travel visas and securing professional licenses.
Typical DUI Defense Strategies
Defense strategies in criminal cases cannot simply be chosen randomly but rather depend on their applicability to each case's unique circumstances and facts. A successful defense strategy must align with the defendant's specific evidence, charges, and legal issues.
Therefore, it’s important that the defendant and their attorney carefully analyze the case details and determine the most appropriate defense strategy based on its merits.
Challenging The Legality Of The Traffic Stop
To conduct a lawful traffic stop, police officers must have probable cause or reasonable suspicion that a driver committed a traffic violation or was driving under the influence. However, without reasonable doubt or probable cause, the officer has no reason to stop you.
If your attorney successfully challenges the legality of the initial stop, it could suppress other evidence gathered during your arrest and possibly lead to a lessened charge or even the dismissal of your case.
Disputing The Accuracy Of Field Sobriety Tests
Sobriety tests are commonly used to determine a driver's level of impairment but can be flawed and produce misleading results. For example, if you have a medical condition or are taking medication that affects your balance or coordination, you may seem intoxicated even if you aren’t.
External factors like inclement weather, traffic noise, or distractions from bystanders can also impact your ability to concentrate and perform well on the test. Or an individual's emotional state, such as anxiety or nervousness during the testing process, can lead to poor performance that may be misinterpreted as intoxication. It’s important to consider all these factors when challenging the validity of sobriety test results to present a strong defense against DUI charges.
Questioning The Reliability Of Breathalyzers Or Blood Tests
Challenging the reliability of breathalyzer or blood tests requires examining the device’s maintenance, calibration, and administration. An attorney can investigate the blood testing conditions, facilities, and procedures to identify any potential errors or inaccuracies.
Several factors can affect the accuracy of blood and breathalyzer tests, and an experienced attorney can use this information to challenge the results in court. Breathalyzers, for example, have been shown to have a 50% margin of error compared to blood tests.
Factors such as age, gender, rate of consumption, and medications can affect breath test results. Certain medical conditions for diabetes or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) can also cause false positive readings. Environmental factors such as temperature and radio frequency interference can also affect the accuracy of breathalyzer results.
While generally considered more reliable than breathalyzers, blood tests can still be affected by testing conditions, facilities, and the test itself. Common causes of blood test errors include clotted specimens, hemolyzed specimens, and insufficient samples.
Asserting Violations Of Constitutional Rights
A DUI attorney can identify potential constitutional rights violations and argue for excluding evidence or dismissing charges, thereby protecting their clients' rights and working towards the best possible outcome.
The Fourth Amendment requires law enforcement officers to have a warrant, consent, or probable cause to search a person or vehicle. Evidence obtained during an unlawful search could be considered a violation of the individual's constitutional rights, leading to the exclusion of that evidence during the trial.
The Fifth Amendment protects individuals from being forced to incriminate themselves. If an attorney can demonstrate that a confession or admission of guilt was coerced or threatened, it may be deemed inadmissible in court.
The Sixth Amendment guarantees the right to counsel during criminal proceedings and a speedy trial. If the driver was denied the opportunity to consult with an attorney, their requests for counsel were ignored, or if a case's hearing has been unreasonably delayed without good cause, an attorney may argue for the dismissal of charges.
Alternative DUI Defense Strategies
In addition to the usual DUI defense strategies, there are several alternative approaches that experienced attorneys may use depending on the particular circumstances of your case. These alternative strategies can be used either independently or in conjunction with other defenses.
PTSD DUI Defense
Individuals with PTSD often experience intense levels of anxiety, fear, or panic when reminded of traumatic events. During a DUI stop, a person with PTSD may exhibit symptoms that appear similar to those of intoxication, such as slurred speech or difficulty maintaining balance.
In a PTSD DUI defense, mental health experts will need to provide testimony regarding the PTSD diagnosis, its effects on the person’s behavior, and the connection between the disorder and the DUI incident.
A DUI attorney familiar with the intricacies of a PTSD DUI defense can help gather the necessary evidence, work with mental health experts, and present a compelling case to the court highlighting the role of PTSD in the incident. While this defense strategy may not guarantee that the charges will be dismissed, it can impact the case's outcome by potentially leading to reduced charges or a more lenient sentence.
ADHD DUI Defense
An ADHD defense can be used when the driver has Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, which affects concentration, impulse control, and decision-making skills. Drivers with ADHD often have difficulty with complex tasks such as driving, making them more susceptible to being pulled over for DUI suspicion.
Evidence shows that individuals with ADHD are three times more likely to be involved in a car accident, meaning they can appear drunk even when sober. This defense requires expert testimony from psychologists or psychiatrists specializing in diagnosing and treating ADHD.
Comparing The Success Rates Of Different DUI Defense Strategies
The success rates of various DUI defense strategies can vary significantly depending on the strength of the evidence against you, the effectiveness of your legal resources, and the particular circumstances of your case. A DUI attorney can help determine the most suitable defense strategy for your specific situation.
To give you a clearer idea of how successful each strategy might be, here’s a closer look at the average success rate of each defense strategy previously discussed:
|Defense Strategy||Success Rate|
|Challenging the legality of the traffic stop||Medium-High|
|Disputing the accuracy of field sobriety tests||Medium|
|Questioning the reliability of breathalyzers or blood tests||Medium-High|
|Asserting violations of constitutional rights||Medium|
|PTSD DUI defense||Low|
|ADHD DUI defense||Low|
Call Weinstein Legal For DUI Representation
If you've been charged with driving under the influence and need experienced legal representation, contact Weinstein Legal today. With a proven track record in DUI cases, we have the experience and expertise to fight on your behalf.
Call us today at (888) 626-1108 or click here to schedule a free, confidential consultation with one of our criminal defense attorneys.