The consequences of being charged with driving under the influence, or DUI, can be very severe. Even if you’re fortunate enough not to have caused an accident or suffered an injury, a DUI charge can mean the loss of your driver’s license, large fines, and jail time. You will want a good criminal defense attorney like David L. Clarke if you have been charged with a DUI in Tennessee.
Before you are convicted, you still have the chance to make your case in court before a judge. That opportunity allows you, with the help of your criminal defense attorney, to use several common defenses that can help get your DUI charge dismissed. Here are some common defenses:
Being Denied Contact with an Attorney
Anyone pulled over by law enforcement can be asked to submit to an initial investigation by the officer. But a suspect in a DUI investigation has certain rights such as the right to consult with an attorney.
Don’t let anyone tell you that only guilty people request lawyers. That’s simply not true. Everyone has the right to seek professional legal help when facing a criminal charge, so don’t hesitate to ask for a lawyer and keep asking for one until that request gets granted. Talking with a lawyer is hands down the smartest thing you can do, even if you are innocent. Call a DUI defense attorney at the first opportunity. If you’re arrested, you’re allowed a phone call. Either contact a defense attorney directly or call someone who will get a lawyer for you.
Denial of a right to an attorney can result in the immediate dismissal of the DUI case, and any evidence obtained during the course of the investigation must be suppressed on the grounds of the accused having been denied an attorney.
Faulty Breathalyzer Equipment
Equipment used by law enforcement to test sobriety in the field can be an invaluable tool in helping keep impaired drivers off the road. But it can also be a smart defense to argue that the field DUI charge was faulty due to faulty equipment.
Field sobriety tests work by analyzing breath to see the level of alcohol in a person’s bloodstream. This means a universal blood/alcohol reading gets applied as a standard for everyone which fails to take into consideration the individual physiology unique to a single person. So, it’s possible the breathalyzer test given in the field can give an inaccurate result due to a variety of causes such as a person having taken required medication that contains alcohol.
Also a defense attorney may suspect the individual breathalyzer was in need of repair or was defective in some way and will want to determine if the equipment was faulty.
An Illegal Stop
Regardless of what you may have heard, law enforcement officers cannot pull over a driver without undue suspicion. An illegal stop is one where Tennessee law enforcement pulls you over without proper cause.
The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution prevents all individuals from being forced to submit to unreasonable search and seizure. As such, a law enforcement officer cannot force a driver to pull over without some visible cause.
For example, an impaired driver might swerve in and out of several lanes, thus providing law enforcement with a reason to pull the driver over. Likewise, a driver going more than 20 miles over the speed limit or running through a red light would be engaging in driving actions that draw the suspicions of law enforcement.
However, if you were driving normally and got pulled over, the police officer will need a good reason to have done so. If they fail to provide that reason, that can be a solid argument for an illegal stop and a defense against a DUI charge.
Contact Us To Learn More
If you have been arrested for a DUI, find out more about DUI defenses that could lead to a dismissal of the charge by contacting the Clarke Law Firm today.