Police, prosecutors and judges go after alleged drunk drivers very aggressively. The public supports this, and the legal system is set up in ways to make collecting evidence for prosecution straightforward. Mounting an equally vigorous defense is essential for an accused driver who wishes to avoid losing their driving privileges, paying thousands of dollars in fines and fees, and possibly spending time in jail.
No one strategy for having a charge for driving under the influence of alcohol works for every case, but an experienced Columbus dui lawyer will have several ways to fight for their client. From the very start, the defense attorney will question whether the police officer or state trooper who charged their client had reasonable cause to suspect drunk driving.
Law enforcement personnel must state a legally viable and justifiable reason for making a traffic stop. Even at a DUI checkpoint, a police officer or state trooper needs a reason to do more than simply examine a driver’s ID and confirm the vehicle registration and proof of insurance. If there is no legitimate cause for making a stop and performing field sobriety tests, then grounds exist for asking that all subsequent charges be thrown out.
DUI defense, Columbus criminal defense lawyer will also question how field sobriety tests were conducted and interpreted. Judgments regarding what counts as “failing” a test like walking a straight line or following the tip of a pen using only one’s eyes are very subjective. And many circumstances that have nothing to do with consuming alcohol can explain slurred speech, misinterpreting directions, or losing one’s balance while standing on one foot.
The results from breath, blood, and urine tests are also open to challenges from a DUI defense attorney. In my home state of Ohio, for instance, police officers and troopers must follow a script when requesting breath, blood and urine samples. Another set of strict rules spell out how laboratory personnel must handle, store, and transport the samples. Any breakdowns in the test administration and analysis process can be cited as reasons for arguing the test results are invalid and inadmissible as evidence. The lack of evidence can then lead to dismissal of the case.
The defense attorney also has the ability to have blood and urine samples reanalyzed. Discrepancies between the initial results and the results obtained from independent analysis create doubt. Reasonable doubt is enough for a judge or jury to find the accused not guilty.
A final strategy a DUI defense attorney can use involves negotiating a plea deal. When police and prosecutors recognize that their evidence may not hold up in court, they have an incentive to agree to allow the accused drunk driver to plead guilty to a less serious traffic violation. Such a deal spares everyone a trial where the outcome is unknown and could be bad for either side. The plea deal guarantees the result in a way that allows the accused driver to avoid the harsh penalties of a conviction for driving under the influence.