Getting pulled over while driving often seems like more of an inconvenience than an accusation of criminal activity. A citation or ticket is essentially a police officer charging you with a minor traffic violation that does not carry serious criminal penalties.
Although most people just pay their tickets and thereby plead guilty to traffic violations, driving under the influence (DUI) charges are vastly different from civil infraction traffic offenses. If the courts convict you of the DUI offense, you can face jail, massive fines and the loss of your driver’s license. Your insurance costs will go up when you do get your driving privileges back, and even your employment could be at risk in some scenarios.
Thankfully, you have the right to defend yourself against a DUI charge. While people often think that a failed breath test will prevent them from fighting a DUI, they may still have several options.
You can challenge the chemical breath test
Plenty of issues can give rise to inaccurate breath test results. Your health condition, your diet and your prescribed medications could all lead to a false positive when you haven’t had anything to drink. Mistakes in test administration or device maintenance ranging from failure to calibrate the units to uninstalled software patches could also compromise the validity of the test results.
You can challenge the traffic stop itself
Police officers need to have a reason to pull you over. Typically, they need to have probable cause to suspect you have committed a primary traffic violation that is grounds to stop your vehicle. Officers cannot just arbitrarily pull you over because of the condition of your vehicle or your race.
If you believe that the police officer inappropriately profiled you or pulled you over because of previous interaction rather than a true justification at the time of the traffic stop, you may be in a position to challenge their decision to pull you over. If the courts agree with you, that might mean that all the evidence gathered during the traffic stop becomes inadmissible.
Reviewing evidence that the state has against you can help you find the most successful way to defend against your pending DUI charges.