Virginia has some of the strictest drunk driving laws in the country. A DUI conviction can result in jail time, hefty fines, license suspension, alcohol treatment programs and other serious consequences. That is why it is so important to do everything you can to defend yourself against these charges. With the help of a qualified criminal defense attorney, you may be able to use one or more of the following defenses to protect yourself.
One of the most common defenses against a DUI charge is claiming that the officer who pulled you over lacked reasonable suspicion to stop your vehicle. The officer must have had reasonable suspicion that you were committing a crime in order to pull you over or approach your vehicle. For example, driving erratically or violating a traffic law may give the officer reason to suspect that you were driving under the influence. If they pulled you over simply based on a “hunch,” that may not be enough to establish reasonable suspicion.
Another common defense has to do with the officer’s lack of probable cause to arrest you for a DUI. Once they have pulled you over, the officer will need more than just suspicion to arrest you. In addition to noticing signs of intoxication (such as slurred speech or disorientation), they may also need to administer field sobriety tests or Breathalyzer tests to establish your blood alcohol content level. Many defense attorneys find that the arresting officer failed to properly administer these tests or that the results of these tests were inaccurate. For example, Breathalyzer results are often unreliable due to improper calibration of the breath test device.
Many people facing DUI charges mistakenly believe that an arrest will automatically lead to a conviction. In reality, many DUI cases are thrown out of court due to a lack of reliable evidence. A criminal defense attorney may be able to evaluate your case and help you cultivate a defense strategy to avoid conviction.
Source: FindLaw, “Defenses to Drunk Driving,” accessed on Feb. 26, 2018