The Three Most Common Defenses to a DUI Charge

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Many people believe that there is nothing a person can do to defend a DUI charge in Colorado. However, this is far from the truth. In fact, there are a number of defenses that, when supported by evidence, can lead to your case’s dismissal or acquittal, or a favorable plea bargain.

Here is a list of the three most common defenses:

1. Challenge the Stop

The police must have probable cause to stop your car in hopes of catching you driving under the influence. This means that the officer must have reasonable cause to suspect you of unlawful conduct. You may be stopped for such things as weaving within your own lane or driving slower than the traffic around you. However, this may not be enough to amount to probable cause, and the officer may have violated your constitutional rights.

2. Challenge the Arrest

In order to arrest you, the officer must have reasonable suspicion to believe that you are driving under the influence. This will usually be based on two things:

  1. The officer’s observations of you, and
  2. Your performance on a field sobriety test.

The arresting officer may say that your eyes were bloodshot, that your face was flushed, your speech was slurred, or that you couldn’t walk straight. But, you may exhibit these same behaviors when you are fatigued, ill, embarrassed, or anxious.

Field sobriety tests are designed to test a person’s balance and coordination and are often difficult for sober people to complete. Individuals may perform badly on a field sobriety test because they are injured, wearing unsuitable shoes, or because the test is being performed under bad roadside conditions. Furthermore, the result of a field sobriety test may be challenged if the officer did not administer the test to you correctly.

If the field sobriety test was videotaped by the arresting officer, this video might show that the officer did not follow protocol in administering the test, or that you actually performed well and did not appear to be impaired.

3. Challenge the Breath or Blood Test

Colorado has specific protocols that must be followed when testing a driver’s blood alcohol content via a breath or blood test. If these protocols are not followed, the results of the test may be challenged.

The breath testing apparatus must be well-maintained, and the operator must be certified in its use. In addition, the correct procedure must be followed when the test is administered. Furthermore, the operator must ensure that you did not burp or regurgitate when being administered the test. If the apparatus is not maintained well or the test is administered improperly, the results may be artificially high. Likewise, if the test is not administered at the right time or, if you were suffering from a medical condition, the test results might be incorrect.

Blood samples must be taken by someone trained and qualified to do so. In addition, the laboratory equipment must be well maintained and calibrated recently by a qualified technician. Your blood sample must then be collected properly, preserved and stored without contamination or degradation. Finally, it must be labeled correctly to avoid any mix-ups.

Consult with an Experienced Colorado DUI Defense Attorney

Only an attorney with substantial experience defending DUI charges will have the expertise to recognize these violations and use them appropriately in your defense. Before you plead guilty to a DUI charge, consult with an experienced DUI attorney who can evaluate your case and help you decide which course of action should be taken. Call the law office of Christian A. Schwaner, P.C. today at (719) 577-9700 to discuss your rights, or contact us online for a free initial consultation.

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