Colorado Springs DUI Defense Strategies
You Can Fight DUI Charges in Colorado Springs
Contrary to popular belief, it is not against the law to drink and drive. In fact, drinking and driving is perfectly legal. What is illegal is driving after you have had so much alcohol that your ability to operate the vehicle safely has been impaired. Similarly, it is legally prohibited to drive when your blood alcohol concentration is at or above the level of .08 percent. Ignorance of this simple fact is perhaps the most common reason that individuals who are arrested and charged with
DUI end up being convicted. They think that the fact that there is evidence that they had been drinking – whether it is the smell of alcohol on their breath, a failed field sobriety test or breath test, or maybe even their own admission to the police officer – means that the case against them is bullet-proof and that there is therefore no hope of effectively fighting the charges. So they simply give up. In truth, you are legally innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, and an effective Colorado Springs criminal defense lawyer may be able to clear your name by making it impossible for the prosecutor to prove that you had a BAC of .08 or that you were ability-impaired at the time of the arrest.
DUI Tests Are Not Fool-Proof
The tests which law enforcement officers use to determine whether they have cause to arrest and charge a driver with DUI, which include the roadside sobriety tests and chemical tests of the breath and blood, are represented as being able to provide objective and even scientific evidence for use in court. Upon careful examination, it is clear to see that none of them is 100 percent accurate, and some are even wildly open to interpretation. For example, the standardized field sobriety tests – the Walk-and-Turn, the One-Leg Stand and the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus – can be failed for a number of different reasons that have nothing to do with the suspect's sobriety. Examples of factors which make it difficult to pass these tests include inappropriate footwear such as high heels, obesity, weak knees, poor balance and anything else which would militate against the effort to perform the tests, as well as conditions such as stress and intimidation resulting from aggressive and domineering behavior on the part of the officer.
Further, success in the field sobriety test depends in large part on whether or not the officer wants you to fail, since it is up to him or her to decide the matter. In some cases, subpoenaing the dashboard video footage from the police car may supply evidence which can be used in court to demonstrate that the defendant did not in fact fail the test or that other circumstances interfered. In other cases, the defense attorney can engage in aggressive cross examination of the law enforcement officer to reveal that he or she is insufficiently trained in how to administer the test. By invalidating the test results, it is often possible to have the entire case dismissed.
Challenging DUI Breath and Blood Tests
Invalidation of the test results is also the goal in challenging the evidence supplied by chemical testing. Your attorney may subpoena the maintenance and calibration records of the breath test machine to demonstrate that the equipment may have been out of tune and incapable of producing reliable results. It has also been demonstrated that the presence of residual alcohol in the suspect's mouth may cause a false positive, as can certain biochemicals associated with acid reflux and diabetes. There have even been cases where breath test results have been called into question by pointing to the fact that radio frequency interference from scanners and other equipment in the police station may have thrown off the accuracy of the machine. Blood test results may sometimes be contested by raising questions over the conditions of the test, since simple factors such as slight contamination of the test tube may result in fermentation of the blood sample, while there is also the possibility that test samples may be inadvertently switched. There are many possible approaches, but they all boil down to calling into question whether the evidence is reliable enough to support a conviction.
Illegal DUI Traffic Stops
Even in cases where the evidence is airtight, it may be possible to have the evidence suppressed based on the fact that the suspect's rights were violated in the course of the investigation. This happens when the police officer conducts what is known as an unlawful traffic stop. Under the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, a citizen cannot be subjected to search or seizure unless the law enforcement officer has a warrant or probable cause to suspect that a crime is being, or has been, committed. If, upon cross examination, the officer cannot explain what he noticed that constituted probable cause to pull you over, your attorney may be able to have the case thrown out of court. It is not enough to say that you looked like someone who would be driving drunk or that you pulled out of the parking lot at a bar; you must have committed some type of traffic offense or have been driving in a manner which would arouse suspicion.
Speak with a Colorado Springs DUI Lawyer
These are only a few of the strategies which can be used to pursue a dismissal or exoneration in a DUI case, but every one of them depends on you taking action now by hiring a Colorado Springs DUI lawyer. Contact me now at the Samuelson Law Firm for an initial consultation and to get the process started!