Charges of driving under the influence are serious with the potential for far-reaching consequences. If you find yourself facing a DUI charge, it helps to understand the key factors to consider when contesting it.
Your BAC level is one of the most important aspects of a DUI case. Contesting the accuracy of BAC tests may be a viable defense strategy.
Field sobriety tests
In Florida, a first DUI conviction can mean fines of up to $1,000, sometimes increasing to more than $2,000 in circumstances such as 0.15 BAC or higher. Officers often administer field sobriety tests to assess physical and mental impairment. Many DUI defenses draw from how officers conduct these tests and the factors that could affect a person’s performance on them.
Reason for stop
The legality of the traffic stop that led to your DUI charge is another key factor. If the police lacked a valid reason to stop you, it may be possible to challenge the entire case.
Ensure that an officer read your Miranda rights to you during the arrest. If you did not receive a statement of your rights, it may impact the admissibility of statements you made to law enforcement.
Witnesses and surveillance
Identify any potential witnesses or surveillance footage that could support your defense. For example, video evidence might challenge the officer’s account of events.
Certain medical conditions and medications can mimic the signs of impairment. If you have a medical condition or are taking prescribed medication, then medical records could support your case.
Chain of evidence
Ensure that authorities correctly handled the evidence against you and followed the proper chain of custody. Any mishandling or contamination of evidence could weaken the prosecution’s case.
DUI checkpoint procedures
If authorities stopped you at a DUI checkpoint, make sure that the checkpoint progressed according to legal guidelines. Any deviations from established procedures could be fertile grounds for contesting the charges.
You could also develop alternative explanations for your behavior and any signs of impairment that officers observed. This may involve presenting evidence to cast doubt on the prosecution’s case.