Many Common Defenses to DUI
RCW 9A.16 lists common legal defenses. But these are not the common defenses to a DUI charge. Common DUI defenses are as follows:
- Rising blood alcohol defense: This defense argues that a defendant's blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was below the legal limit at the time of driving, but rose above the limit while the defendant was being tested or during the time between the arrest and the test. This defense is based on the fact that alcohol continues to be absorbed into the bloodstream after a person stops drinking. Thus, a person who was not legally drunk at the time of driving may have a BAC above the legal limit when they are tested later. To use this defense, the defendant must present evidence to show that their BAC was rising, such as the time of their last drink and the time of the test.
- Medical conditions defense: This defense argues that a defendant's behavior or symptoms were caused by a medical condition, rather than by alcohol or drugs. For example, a defendant may argue that their slurred speech was caused by a medical condition such as a stroke or a seizure disorder, rather than by alcohol consumption. To use this defense, the defendant must present medical evidence, such as the testimony of a medical expert, to support their claim.
- Illegal stop or arrest defense: This defense argues that the police did not have probable cause to stop or arrest the defendant, and that any evidence obtained as a result of the stop or arrest should be suppressed. The fourth amendment of the United States Constitution protects citizens from unreasonable searches and seizures, and a stop or arrest is considered unreasonable if it is not based on probable cause. To use this defense, the defendant must present evidence that the police did not have probable cause to stop or arrest them, such as the testimony of a witness or dash cam footage.
- Breath test machine malfunction: This defense argues that the breath test machine was not properly calibrated or was not functioning correctly, and that the results of the breath test should not be considered as evidence. Breath test machines are complex and technical devices that need to be properly maintained and calibrated to ensure accurate results. To use this defense, the defendant must present evidence that the breath test machine was not functioning correctly, such as the testimony of an expert witness
- Mouth alcohol defense: This defense argues that the defendant had residual alcohol in their mouth from swallowing, burping, or regurgitation, which may have skewed the results of the breath test.
- Inaccurate blood test results: This defense argues that the blood test results were inaccurate, or that the blood sample was mishandled or contaminated, which may have skewed the results.
It's worth noting that defenses may vary depending on the facts and circumstances of each case. Also, procedural processes and defense can vary by local court. Therefore, it's always a good idea to consult with a Tacoma DUI attorney that is familiar with Washington state's laws and the procedures in the state and local area.