A DUI offence seems light on paper, but it really penalizes the hell out of the offender who can lose his driving license, serve time in prison, attend reform programs (AA, DUI school, community service, etc.), and more. Drunk drivers are actually scared of a DUI charge and do their best to beat it. Here are some of the common methods adopted by drivers to fight a DUI offense:
1. Involuntary Intoxication
Some drivers claim involuntary intoxication – i.e., their drink was spiked. However, this defense requires producing witnesses and submitting proof against the accused (the drink spikers).
Some drivers claim duress – i.e., they were driving because someone was forcing them at gunpoint or they were driving in that manner to prevent death or injury.
3. Mistake of Fact
Mistake Of Fact involves proving that the driver was mistaken about his intoxication – he thought the drinks’ effects had worn off.
4. Plea Bargain
Most drivers opt for a plea bargain, which requires the driver to enter into an agreement with the prosecutor, and then plead guilty to a lesser charge (as negotiated). Negotiations also include the driver agreeing to a mutually-agreed-and-accepted sentence. The driver does not have to stand trial once a plea bargain is entered into. Let’s take an example: A drunk driver is booked for DUI. He negotiates with the prosecutor and the charge is reduced to speeding or reckless driving. If he is booked for DUI then his license may be cancelled and his driving record will be butchered up, unlike in a speeding or reckless driving case.
5. Challenge The Evidence
If the driver feels that the cop who stopped him did so without any reasonable basis to believe that he had violated any law, then the driver can challenge the DUI charge in court. The officer must produce hard evidence that establishes that the driver was under the influence – if the evidence is not solid, and if it is challenged, then the prosecutor has no option but to drop the charge. For example, if the officer had a feeling or suspicion that the driver was drunk, and proceeded to book him without any solid evidence, then such a charge can be easily challenged in court.
6. Challenge The Tests
Some drivers challenge the validity of sobriety tests. A good legal counsel can on his own steam, and based on witness testimony and past judgments, prove that the tests are not reliable. However this is an iffy situation and if it cannot be established that the tests were invalid, then the driver will likely be handed down major DUI penalties. For those not in the know, breathalyzer equipment must be cared for and calibrated as per the manufacturer’s manual. Most police departments use outdated breathalyzers, and this can be picked on by defense counsels. Likewise, blood tests must be conducted based on specific rules. If the rules are not followed, the results can be challenged. A good lawyer can pick holes even in a blood test that looks all prim and proper.
To Sum Up
DUI is a serious offense and drinking and driving don’t mix. However, if you have booked for DUI, then you must hire an experienced and reputed attorney to help you face the court’s heat.
Carmen A. Anderson is a blogger who recommends the legal services of Simon A. Kubiak for DUI cases in both Albuquerque, NM and Las Vegas, NV.
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