DUI law

Best Defenses When Facing DUI and DWI Charges

Being charged with a DUI (driving under the influence) or DWI (driving will intoxicated) can reap serious repercussions. If you’ve been charged and would like to fight it, it’s important to know all the types of defenses that are available to you. If you have a good defense, there’s a chance you’ll be able to get your charges dropped or reduced, as well as keep your license from getting suspended.

In order for the prosecutor to be successful in a DUI case, they must be able to prove that you, the defendant, were operating a vehicle, and that you were under the influence, meaning that you were impaired or had consumed an amount of drugs or alcohol that were beyond the legal limit.

Your DUI defense should focus on one of these two areas, since the prosecutor has to prove both of them in order to get you convicted. Keep in mind that available defenses vary based on state law, but the following defenses are available in most states.

 

“Driving” Defenses

Depending on the state, you might not be able to be convicted of a DUI unless you were actually driving the vehicle. This means that if you were simply asleep behind the wheel of a parked car when the police officer got to the scene, you have a decent defense against the “driving” requirement. However, many states don’t actually require that the prosecutor have proof that the defendant was actually “driving” in order to convict someone of a DUI. As long as the prosecutor can show that you were “operating” or in some kind of physical control of the vehicle, while you were intoxicated, you can be convicted of the DUI. So, you can be found guilty even if you didn’t actually drive the car.

 

Arrest Procedure Defenses

Sometimes, police officers don’t use the proper procedures when arresting a defendant, and this can allow you to come up with a defense that your case should be thrown out. Here are a few scenarios in which your arrest might not have been legal:

No Probable Cause

In order for a police officer to stop your vehicle and pull you over, they must have probable cause. If they arrest you for a DUI, they need probable cause for that as well. They need have a reason to believe that you or someone in your car has broken the law. (Keep in mind that the probable cause rule does not apply to checkpoints and roadblocks.) If you’ve committed any kind of traffic violation, police do have probable cause to stop your car. However, if you feel that the police officer pulled you over without having a valid reason, there’s a good chance that the course will decide any evidence against you is not admissible.

Even if the police officer had a valid reason to pull you over, they still need to have a good reason to believe that you were in violation of state DUI laws. Most probable cause comes from the officer’s observations and the results from a breath-test. These types of evidence are usually hard to refute.

 

No Miranda Warnings

This procedure is less common when it comes to DUI cases, but sometimes, a police officer is required to give you Miranda warnings before they question you. This refers to suspects who are in police custody. If you haven’t been given Miranda warnings, any statements you made typically cannot be used against you in court.

It’s important to be knowledgeable about the possible defenses you can use to lessen your DUI charge or even have it completely dropped. Consulting a lawyer before your defense will give you a better understanding of how you can fight your particular case.

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