There are nearly a million people arrested each year for having consumed alcohol while driving, yet many neglect to contact a DUI lawyer, and some choose to simply plead guilty without the benefit of expert advice.
Without criminal law representation, you could be penalized on mere technicalities. State laws vary, as well as fines and penalties, and there are also factors that could cause higher than normal sentences. Examples include transporting children while driving drunk, driving at high speeds, having a higher than normal BAC or causing damage. Those drivers who are repeat offenders may be sentenced to jail time.
Why you need a DUI Lawyer
Law enforcement officers and state attorneys will do their best to intimidate you, and some may even tell you after field tests, an attorney couldn’t help you, but this is wrong. It is the burden of the state to prove that you are guilty. DUI attorneys are more familiar with taking your case through the court system and know how to defend yours in order to reduce or eliminate the charges.
Law enforcement officers do not always follow their own guidelines. For example, during a breathalyzer, there are procedures, including several steps to be followed at all times to ensure the rights of drivers. In the event that a police officer does not perform these procedures correctly, a DUI attorney can question the admissibility of the breathalyzer.
Use and Accuracy of a Breathalyzer
“Breathalyzer” is actually a brand name of a breath analysis instrument. There are literally dozens of models of the instrument, most hand held. Due to its frequent use as evidence in criminal courts, its operation is subject to highly prescribed regulations.
The aim of breathalyzer tests is to determine the levels of alcohol in the blood. We don’t digest alcohol in the body, but rather our mouth, tissues, and organs absorb the elements. In part, alcohol exits the body through breathing. Because the total percentage of blood alcohol that exists in this way is predictable, the alcohol content of the breath can be used to calculate the total blood alcohol content or BAC. The handheld breathalyzer uses electrochemical fuel cell technology to identify the alcohol elements present in the breath sample, and then calculate the percentage of that content. The result of the breathalyzer is a reading of alcohol in the blood expressed as a percentage.
But there are various factors that could result in inaccurate readings. To begin with, body temperature and blood composition can alter the ratios. Vomiting or blood in the mouth or acid reflux may also distort the readings.
Officials will tell you that these specialized breathalyzers used by law enforcement have very little margin for error, but it’s been proven that these instruments are not always completely reliable. Breathalyzers need to be calibrated. Calibration is checking and adjusting the sensors to ensure accuracy. And depending upon the use, the instruments may require more frequent calibrations.
This process for re-calibration is similar to that of an analog clock. You’ll set a clock to the correct time, however, over time the clock gradually shifts a few minutes, and eventually may off a few seconds or minutes, and requires adjustments. Breathalyzers require the same type of adjustments.
Holiday DUI Checks
It is very common during holidays or high-traffic weekends for law enforcement to increase surveillance on drivers to catch those under the influence of alcohol and raise public awareness. This type of event requires a set of guidelines that each state agency must follow. For example:
The location of the vehicle check must be established in a specific place the area should be well signposted and drivers should have no doubt that they are at a roadblock. Police must establish the total number of vehicles that stop either one of every two cars. Also, tests taken to the police station may be inaccurate, and law enforcement officers may have had no probable cause to make an arrest.
Most individuals are unaware of all the rules surrounding drunk driving arrests, making the decision to contact a DUI lawyer early on all the more critical.
Staging an Aggressive DUI Defense Strategy
Although it is not easy to beat a charge of DUI, you probably can have a better defense than you think. To increase positive choices, a DUI attorney seeks to determine any procedural error or violation of civil rights, including:
- Why was the arresting officer arresting you?
- Was there probable cause to support the arrest for DUI?
- Was there a breathalyzer test or blood test performed?
- Was the blood test administered at the police station?
- Are there inconsistencies between the police report and criminal complaint?
Depending on the facts of your case, a DUI lawyer can concentrate on seeking waivers or having the case thrown out based on any violation of your constitutional rights.