Top Defenses for Fighting a DUI case in California
April 5, 2021
Even a first-time conviction for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI) can lead to a suspended license, hundreds of dollars in fines, and months in jail. Multiple offenses can lead to more severe penalties. If you’ve been arrested for DUI in California, you might have several defenses available to you. Continue reading for a discussion of some of the strongest defenses to DUI charges in California. Call a savvy Rancho Cucamonga criminal defense lawyer for help fighting DUI and other criminal charges in Southern California
Unlawful Stop by a Police Officer
The police cannot pull over any driver for any reason whatsoever. If they are not stationed at an established sobriety stop, they must have reasonable suspicion that a person in the vehicle has committed some sort of crime. They may pull a driver over for appearing to drive recklessly (such as swerving), for committing a moving violation such as speeding, or for an infraction such as driving with a broken tail light or a missing registration tag. If they have no reason whatsoever, then the stop itself was not legal.
If the stop was without proper legal justification, then everything that happened after the stop can be found inadmissible in criminal court. Sobriety test results, BAC results, and other evidence obtained can be thrown out as unconstitutional.
Useless Field Sobriety Tests
Often the police will rely on the results of a field sobriety test to establish that a person was intoxicated. These tests are notoriously inaccurate. Standing on one leg or walking on a narrow line and turning can lead people to stumble for any number of reasons other than intoxication. Vertigo, fatigue, and even using an over-the-counter mouthwash can cause a driver to simulate the symptoms of intoxication. Without hard evidence, the prosecution should have no hope of obtaining a DUI conviction. Notably, however, passing a field sobriety test can be a helpful piece of evidence to fight DUI charges.
Inaccurate BAC Tests
Breathalyzers and other blood alcohol content (BAC) tests are only as good as the equipment and the person administering the test. The officer must follow strict protocols in maintaining and regularly recalibrating the device, and they must use the device in the precise, appropriate manner, in order for the test to have any semblance of accuracy. For example, the officer is supposed to observe the suspect for a full 15 minutes before even taking a breathalyzer measurement. If the officer failed to follow appropriate protocol in administering the test, or if their device has not been maintained and calibrated appropriately, then the results of the breath test could be thrown out.
Improper Police Conduct
In addition to an improper stop, any misconduct by the police can be used in your defense. Overly aggressive conduct, failing to read you your Miranda rights prior to arrest, mishandling evidence, or any other misconduct can be used to either eliminate evidence usable against you or get your charges tossed entirely.
The Law Offices of John D. Lueck is a trusted Rancho Cucamonga criminal defense law firm with more than 43 years of service to clients in San Bernardino and Los Angeles counties. These cases are highly sensitive and require experienced representation to ensure your rights are protected. If you or someone you know has been arrested for a crime, contact Rancho Cucamonga criminal defense lawyer John D. Lueck for a free consultation.