The police in California are constantly on the lookout for drunk drivers because of their association with serious car crashes. If an officer spots someone that they think is under the influence of alcohol, they will pull that driver over and then ask them certain questions.
Facing a drunk driving traffic stop may make you quite nervous. How you answer and the driving behaviors that made the officer suspicious might give the police grounds to ask you for a field sobriety test. Your performance on those tests or the results of a chemical breath test could lead to your arrest and then to criminal charges.
Many people accused of driving under the influence (DUI) offenses in California plead guilty because they think that they can’t defend against such charges. However, there are numerous defense strategies that can work in DUI cases, including the three below.
Challenge the breath test results
There is credible evidence that chemical breath tests frequently return inaccurate results. Your attorney could raise questions about the accuracy of the test results, which can be particularly effective if there weren’t other signs of impairment to corroborate the result that seemingly showed you had had too much to drink. Without the breath test as physical evidence, the state may have a hard time achieving the necessary standard of proof to convict you.
Challenge the traffic stop
Police officers sometimes pull people over for reasons that don’t hold up to scrutiny. Just because they saw you leaving a restaurant or bar doesn’t give them cause to stop you and ask you questions. There needs to be some kind of primary traffic offense to justify the traffic stop.
Otherwise, you can potentially challenge the validity of the stop and all of the evidence gathered during your interaction with the police officer.
Provide an alternate explanation
Maybe you have a medical condition that affected the breath test results. Perhaps you have anxiety, which is why you acted strangely during the initial conversation with the officer. When there is a reasonable explanation for your behavior or the results of the breath test, you can provide those explanations as part of your defense strategy.
Learning about how people defend against DUI charges might inspire you to fight the allegations against you.