There can be a lot of stress with a DUI charge, considering the severity of the possible consequences – ranging from a suspended or revoked driver’s license, exorbitant fines, possible jail time and a huge increase in your auto insurance premiums!
But just because you have been charged with a DUI, it doesn’t mean you have no hope of fighting and beating the case.
While a DUI can be complex and it may seem, the odds are stacked against you, there are other options aside from just pleading guilty.
HIRE A TOP DUI LAWYER IN SONOMA COUNTY
If you are facing a DUI charge, especially a first-time DUI charge, it is important to act fast and hire a seasoned and highly skilled DUI lawyer who can pull all the necessary strings to get the charges reduced or dropped entirely.
There are ways to get out of a DUI, and below are ten common ways a lawyer can help you beat a DUI charge:
- CHALLENGE THE BASIS FOR THE DUI TRAFFIC STOP
Even when a traffic stop ultimately results in a DUI arrest, a police officer must have probable cause to stop you while driving.
Based on the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, if an officer stops you without probable cause, then the stop is considered illegal. In the case of an illegal stop, any evidence the officer collects – and this includes breathalyzer results and/or blood and urine testing – is considered illegally obtained and therefore inadmissible in court.
- WHAT CONSTITUTES PROBABLE CAUSE
The officer must have a legitimate reason for pulling you over and questioning you. In most cases, a legitimate reason can be a traffic violation or erratic driving.
However, if you can argue that the officer had no reason for pulling you over then any evidence gathered after you were pulled over can be ruled inadmissible in court. In many cases, the loss of evidence from a traffic stop will suck the air right out of the prosecution’s arguments in a DUI case.
Challenging the traffic stop in a DUI case is tricky and sometimes difficult. The CA Vehicle Code is full of instances and justifications for very minor technical violations that give law enforcement almost unbridled reasons to detain you.
Police can stop people for somewhat minuscule reasons. If your DUI lawyer can successfully argue that there was no basis for a traffic stop, chances are good that your case will get dismissed.
- CHALLENGE THE BASIS FOR THE DUI ARREST
Even if you can’t win the argument that the traffic stop itself was not justified, you can argue that there was no basis for the DUI arrest. If there was no basis for the DUI arrest, the evidence taken during the arrest will be deemed inadmissible in court. Your attorney should consider filing the appropriate 1538.5 Suppression Motion for this purpose.
Being pulled over is separate from being arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol. A police officer can pull you over for ‘bad driving’ or a wide variety of different traffic violations and write you a ticket but for them to arrest you for a DUI, they must show they had probable cause to believe you were intoxicated.
Here are some examples: if the police officer smelled alcohol on you, they observed red blood shot eyes, if you performed poorly on any of the field sobriety tests, or if you appeared otherwise intoxicated pursuant to your gait and balance.
- FAILURE TO READ MIRANDA RIGHTS DURING DUI ARREST
In the 1966 Supreme Court case Miranda v. Arizona, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that individuals must be informed of their Fifth Amendment Rights when placed under arrest. The arresting police officer must recite the Miranda Warning, which informs the arrestee of their right to not self-incriminate.
The person being arrested has the right to remain silent. They also have the right to hire a lawyer, or to be appointed a lawyer if they are unable to hire private counsel.
Law enforcement likes to get around this requirement by introducing evidence that you were merely detained and that you were free to leave anytime. We can easily debunk that argument and win.
If a police officer fails to read you your Miranda Warnings at the time of an arrest, anything you say during or after your arrest is inadmissible and unable to be used against you in a court of law.
- IMPROPER ADMINISTRATION OF A BREATHALYZER TEST
Like a field sobriety test, there are many rules and procedures which must be followed when a police officer administers a DUI breathalyzer test in California. The equipment the officer uses must be approved, maintained and calibrated to specification.
If a breathalyzer malfunctions, it will give inaccurate results. Even if a perfectly functioning breathalyzer is improperly calibrated, it can read a completely different score than what your Blood Alcohol Concentration is.
WE carefully review all calibration and maintenance records in every DUI case to make sure that each defendant gets the benefit of doubt to establish his or her innocence.
If there is a possibility that the breathalyzer test administered to you was incorrectly given or a chance that the results are skewed.
A highly experienced and skilled DUI lawyer can challenge the results of the test and convince the judge to dismiss the DUI charge outright! If your attorney finds enough evidence in your favor your lawyer can get the results of your breathalyzer test suppressed in court.
- DUI VIDEO EVIDENCE
In many cases, there is video footage of your DUI traffic stop and arrest. Body Worn Cameras or BWC’s are so much more common today than just a few years ago and we always strictly scrutinize them to find anything in your favor.
Additionally, there may even be video of you while standing in front of the police car with a dashboard camera performing your sobriety tests or there may be video footage of you at the police station.
The footage taken during and after your DUI arrest can be helpful to your defense. If the footage shows you behaving in a way you appear sober, then you can create doubt about your being intoxicated.
Even more helpful is when the dash camera or arrest footage shows anything which contradicts the police officer’s report. If you can use video footage to challenge the credibility or behavior of your arresting officer, you can open a door to challenge the legality of your DUI stop and arrest.
- OUTSIDE WITNESSES IN YOUR DUI CASE
If you can introduce witnesses who can testify to your sobriety right before the arrest they may be able to create enough doubt in your case to beat the DUI charge. Maybe you can find people who can testify that you did not drink prior to operating a motor vehicle.
Or, maybe you have witnesses to your arrest who watched the entire DUI stop and arrest and can attest to you appearing sober. Alternatively, witnesses can also be helpful if the situation involved police misconduct before or after the arrest.
Video footage could also support your argument that law enforcement did not follow proper rules, protocol and procedures.
Whether you are challenging the legality of your arrest, improper testing procedures, or your arresting officer’s failure to mirandize, having witnesses or video footage to back up your argument will make the entire process easier for you.
It is harder to deny what someone else can attest to, and nearly impossible to contradict something that is shown on camera.
- POLICE MISCONDUCT IN A DUI ARREST
Police misconduct covers a broad area, but one that may be able to help beat your DUI case. If you were treated improperly or too forcibly by police officers – if they used inappropriate or illegal behavior when arresting or detaining you – you can make a case for police misconduct.
Illegal or inappropriate behavior can include a broad range of conduct, stemming from racial profiling to sexual harassment to physical brutality. If you can successfully make a case for police misconduct during your arrest or detainment, it is very possible your DUI case can get dropped if the misconduct is considered serious enough.
An experienced and highly skilled defense lawyer will know how to recognize a situation where you can claim police misconduct.
CONTACT OUR TOP-RATED DUI LAWYERS IN SONOMA COUNTY
Fiumara & Milligan Law, PC has been recognized as one of the Top 100 DUI law firms in the state of California by The National Advocacy for DUI Defense (NAFDD) in 2016, 2017 and again in 2018.
We are experienced lawyers who will fight HARD to get you the best possible results in your Sonoma County DUI case.
Contact Fiumara & Milligan Law today at 707-571-8600 to speak with a DUI lawyer for a FREE consultation.
CLICK HERE to learn more about how Fiumara & Milligan Law can help you FIGHT and WIN a DUI case.