There are a number of situations where it might make sense to fight DUI in Court, with a jury trial.
One is that you’ve got a good case to prove that you didn’t commit the crime of DUI. For example, if you blew under .08 or even blew zeros, and the officer thinks that you’re under the influence of a controlled substance, then it becomes a question of what sort of evidence do they have of your impairment by a controlled substance. A controlled substance could be marijuana, a prescription opioid for pain, or anxiety drug. With any of those things it’s very hard to determine how impaired a person is even if they’ve taken a breath test. Those can often be good cases to fight DUI in court and we have won controlled substances cases at trial.
Another situation that might be a good idea to fight DUI in Court is if you’re not going to get a better plea deal by admitting you did it. If the plea deal says that you go to jail for 30 days, and if you lost your case you would only go to jail for 30 days, you might want to try and contest the case in trial. Juries are unpredictable. A lot of times that plays against the defendant who is risk-averse and wants to know what the exact punishment is going to be. But if you can’t get a decent deal from the prosecutor then that would be case where you would want to take it to trial and see if you could win.
A person might also want to take the DUII case to trial if you’ve had an inexperienced police officer handling the case. It happens quite frequently that there is a DUI officer in training, there’s more than one officer, or there’s an officer doing field sobriety tests that doesn’t know what he’s doing. That might be a case where the prosecutor thinks they have evidence of the field sobriety test, but it wasn’t administered properly. It has to be administered according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration guidelines. If it wasn’t, then that might get thrown out, or at the least it is something we can attack it in court.
Another example is where the person’s constitutional rights have been violated. This could be that the officer didn’t read you your Miranda rights and then asked you a bunch of questions where are you admitted incriminating information. The police could have also conducted an illegal search, for example, by drawing blood without a warrant. In the case of a constitutional violation, we can keep any evidence that was derived from that violation out of court.
The same holds true with the breath test. The officer needs to follow a certain procedure when they’re administering those tests, and if they don’t follow the procedures, or if their permit is out of date, or expired, or if the machine wasn’t tested within a certain date, then those results could be thrown out. That would be a great case to take to court because if, for example, you blew a .10, and that evidence gets thrown out of court because of some procedural violation, the jury never knows about that key piece of information.
Another argument we’ve used at trial is absorptio of alcohol theory. During the gap in time between you’re pulled over and when the breath test is taken your blood alcohol content will change. What matters in a DUII case is what your blood alcohol content was while you were driving. But your breath test is only going to show what your blood alcohol content was when you took the test, which could be anywhere from one hour to three hours after you were pulled over. This argument is most helpful when there is a short gap in time and reason to believe that the absorption of alcohol into your system cause you to have a higher BAC at the jail than you had in the car.
There are also things that can affect the accuracy of the breath test. Police officers are required to check your mouth and observe you for 15 minutes before administering the breath test. If they don’t observe you during that period or they don’t do a good job of observing you during that period, it’s very possible for alcohol that’s in your stomach to contaminate your throat and affect the outcome of the breath test. In that circumstance you could argue that that test was not representative of your blood alcohol content – that it was tainted by alcohol in your mouth.
These are just a few of the situations where it may make sense to fight DUI in court. In all cases, the help of a DUII defense attorney, who is an experienced and aggressive trial lawyer, can make the difference in your case. Please call The LeSueur Law Firm and take the first steps toward protecting yourself and your family.