You’re facing one of the scariest situations that can happen to someone in Washington – you’re facing DUI charges. As you know, the penalties are steep: jail time, fines, license suspension and perhaps other official penalties like an ignition interlock device or non-official penalties like your families’ negative reaction or difficulty in job searching. You need the counsel and defense of a DUI defense attorney.
But you may be thinking, “Why bother? What could they do?” It all seems stacked up against you, doesn’t it? After all, the prosecution has the police reports and police testimony, they may have other witnesses, and they will have the results of the breath or blood test. Set your mind a little at ease. Although every case is different and you will want to discuss your specific case with a DUI defense attorney you should know that there are several potential possibilities for defense. Not all of the below situations may apply to you but you will see that there are several possibilities and all will be explored. Now is the time to ask yourself some questions.
First, do you suffer from acid reflux or some other problem that causes frequent heartburn? Even if you don’t, did you have heartburn that night due to what you ate? Heartburn can be a sign that alcohol has traveled from the stomach to the throat. Breath tests are supposed to measure the BAC in your lungs, but if the concentration in your mouth is too high it can confuse the machine and give a false reading.
Were you read your Miranda rights? If you weren’t it does not necessarily follow that the case will be thrown out but it will mean they can’t use anything you said against you. All of your testimony would need to be thrown out as evidence.
When they stopped you was it because they said you were weaving? Did you ever leave your lane and was it for a prolonged period? If you did not, the police may have had no legal reason to stop you. If that is the situation, the whole case may be able to be thrown out and you can breathe easy.
Is it claimed that the smell of alcohol was on your breath? Realize that alcohol actually has no smell. The smell we think of as alcohol actually comes from what it’s mixed with. Some things can smell exactly the same and smell alone is not enough to give probable cause for a DUI arrest.
What are the reasons given for suspecting DUI? Remember that the police need to have probable cause to stop you, they also need one for a DUI arrest. If you or your DUI defense attorney believe that there was no such probable cause then a suppression hearing can be requested. If it is found that there was no probable cause to arrest you then the case can get dismissed.
Were you tired, checking a map, talking on your phone or engaged in any behavior that would distract you from the road? This is not advisable but it is not DUI. Some driving mistakes can easily be explained by the above situations. So consider whether this can be used as a defense.
Were you observed for15 minutes before getting the breath test? WA law demands this and it demands that you be carefully watched. If you were not, this can be used as a defense and as evidence of a possibly false high reading.
Think about why you were stopped. Do you believe there was sufficient cause? Discuss the situation fully with your Seattle Tacoma DUI defense attorney. If it was a bad stop, it’s just like if it was a bad arrest – the case may be able to be fully dropped.
Did you take field sobriety tests? This may also actually provide defense. There is no way of knowing what your performance would have been like on any given day – some people would have difficulty with them no matter what. Your faulty performance may have been due to bad terrain or dress. There are only some accepted tests – if any others were used they can be thrown out as evidence. You Seattle Tacoma DUI defense attorney will know which ones are inadmissible.
So, being arrested for DUI is overwhelming. But it is not the time to give up. As you can see, there are numerous options for your defense and this list wasn’t even comprehensive. The science of your test would also be checked. Please call Smith & White, PLLC – the first consult is free.