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California DUI

Defending a DUI

Driving Observation Defenses

The DUI prosecutor always relies (sometimes only) on the arresting police officer's testimony about how a DUI suspect was driving according to California DUI laws, including:

  • Slow Speeds
  • Uneven Speeds ( Fast, Then Slow, For Example)
  • Weaving From One Side of a Lane to the Other
  • Crossing the Center Line of the Highway
  • Running a Red Light
  • Hesitation in Going Through a Green Light

A good DUI defense attorney will argue that there are many different explanations for these driving behaviors that don't have anything to do with being alcohol-impaired.

Behavior Observation Defenses

A California police officer may also testify as to a DUI suspect's appearance and behavior at the time of the drunk driving arrest when questioned under California DUI laws, including:

  • Slurred Speech
  • Bloodshot Eyes
  • Unsuitable Joking or Incoherent Speech
  • Stumbling or Not Being Able to Walk Far
  • Pupil Enlargement

Defenses to these observations that don't have anything to do with being intoxicated may include:

  • Lack of Sleep
  • Allergies
  • Contact Lenses
  • Stress Due to Personal Circumstances
  • Medications
  • Foods Recently Ingested
  • Nervousness Over Being Stopped By Police
  • Physical Impairments

Field Sobriety Test Defenses

When an officer suspects you may be too intoxicated to drive, he or she will likely ask you to do what are called "field sobriety tests." These tests are designed to assess your physical and mental alertness, and can include:

  • Walking a Straight Line
  • Walking Backwards
  • Reciting the Alphabet, Front Wards or Backwards
  • Standing on One Leg

Officers also sometimes rely on what's called a "nystagmus" test, in which the suspect is asked to shift eye gaze from one side to the other while the officer shines a light in his or her eyes. The theory is that the gaze of someone who is impaired by alcohol or drugs will be jerky instead than smooth.

The defenses to field sobriety tests are often the same as with officer observations. Medications and lack of sleep can make it considerably more difficult to do these tests. Many people also have physical impairments caused by injuries - or simply aging -that make it impossible to do these tasks under ideal conditions.

Blood Alcohol Content Defenses

When you consume alcoholic drinks, the alcohol is absorbed into your blood stream. The alcohol in your blood, called the Blood Alcohol Content ("BAC") can be measured by different tests.

According to California DUI Laws, you're thought to be drunk and unable to safely run a vehicle if your BAC is .08 or greater. If you're under 21, you're thought legally drunk with a BAC over .05.

Under California's implied consent law, you're wanted to give to a chemical alcohol test when requested by a police officer. If you refuse, you face a driver's license suspension and may still be convicted for DUI and refusing to take the test. If you refuse a chemical test and are later convicted of DUI, you'll get all possible penalties and lose the possibility of probation.

Most DUI suspects have their blood tested by blowing into a breath testing device. These devices can be faulty and not well-supported or properly calibrated. They can register false results based on your amount used of food and other non-harmful substances except alcohol or drugs.

Your attorney will likely subpoena police records on how the breath testing machine uses and was kept and calibrated. Your lawyer may also want to bring in expert testimony that the particular breath testing machine the officer used is notorious for malfunctioning.

Another defense to breath testing machines arises when the physical breath tests aren't protected as evidence, allowing independent testing later. Your attorney can argue that there's no way to know if the machine that was used was exact, if your breath samples can't be independently tested.

Many of the defenses against DUI charges need a lawyer's knowledge about California DUI laws and experience. If you've been charged with DUI, it's important to contact an experienced California DUI Attorney at once. They can also help you with any California DMV DUI questions.

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