When you’ve been charged with driving under the influence (DUI), it may feel as though there is no way to win your case—however, that couldn’t be further from the truth. There are a number of potential defenses that can be used to get your drunk-driving charges reduced, dismissed, and even acquitted. For that reason, you owe it to yourself to speak with a qualified Salt Lake City DUI defense attorney before making any important decisions regarding your case.
Contesting a DUI Stop
Law enforcement agents can’t pull over drivers for just any reason—they must have probable cause to believe that a crime (such as drunk driving) is being committed. The first thing a seasoned DUI attorney will do when taking on your case is to look at the circumstances of your traffic stop when preparing your defense.
If the traffic stop was not legitimate—that is, the officer did not observe an infraction or have reason to believe you were in the process of committing a crime—all of the evidence that was collected may be deemed inadmissible by the court. And, without this evidence, the prosecution may have to drop your charges altogether.
Establishing lack of probable cause won’t only help with your criminal charges; it’s also important when appealing Utah’s administrative license suspension. Under state law, any person who either refuses to take the breathalyzer test when suspected of drunk driving or who tests over the legal blood alcohol content (BAC) level is subject to an automatic license suspension imposed by the Department of Motor Vehicles. In order to contest the loss of your driving privileges, it’s necessary to submit a license appeal within 10 days of your arrest as well as show that your traffic stop lacked probable cause.
Qualified DUI Defense
As you can imagine, proving that a DUI traffic stop was illegal is not an easy process; fortunately, our attorneys can help you determine if this is an appropriate defense for your case. The Fourth Amendment of the Constitution was created to protect citizens in cases such as this, and it’s important that we ensure that your rights are protected.
Contesting A DUI Arrest Utah
Many people arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) plead guilty to their charges, believing there is no way that they can win their case. What they fail to take into account is that there a number of potential defenses that can be used to get their charges acquitted, dismissed or reduced to a lesser offense (such as reckless driving). Of course, finding the right defense strategy for your specific situation requires having a skilled DUI lawyer on your side.
Challenging a Utah DUI Arrest
To arrest a driver for drunk driving, the officer must have probable cause. This requires evidence, such as observing a crime being committed, spotting signs that a driver is under the influence (such as certain behaviors or open alcohol containers), or administering a series of field sobriety tests. If the officer did not have enough information to establish that the driver was drunk, the arrest may be deemed invalid and all charges could be dismissed.
A DUI defense attorney can investigate the circumstances of your arrest by reading the police report, interviewing eyewitnesses, or watching video evidence from the patrol car’s dashboard camera to devise an appropriate defense. For example, if the officer claims that you failed the field sobriety tests and your lawyer finds that the tests were improperly administered or you have a medical condition that made passing them impossible, this evidence can be thrown out.
A lot of the signs associated with drunk driving, such as bloodshot eyes, slurred speech, and alcohol on the breath, can also indicate other medical conditions. For example, a person who is on a low-carb diet may smell like alcohol when their body goes into ketosis and may be more sluggish than usual. Your attorney can challenge the officer’s observations during his or her testimony to introduce reasonable doubt into the judge and/or jury’s minds.
Fight Your Drunk-Driving Charges Today
When you’re facing a criminal charge that has the potential to affect your future, like DUI, you owe it to yourself to explore every possibility of keeping it off your criminal record. Qualified DUI defense attorneys understand how much you have to lose, and will do everything they can to help you fight your case.
Contesting The Field Sobriety Tests Utah
Field sobriety tests are widely used by Salt Lake City law enforcement agents when determining if an individual suspected of driving under the influence (DUI) is actually over the legal limit. However, even if you were arrested after failing the field sobriety tests, you shouldn’t take this as a sign that your case is unwinnable. In fact, a qualified defense attorney may be able to discredit the results of these tests in order to secure a favorable outcome for your charges.
Challenging the Utah Field Sobriety Tests
While there are a number of tests used by police officers to establish probable cause for a drunk-driving arrest, only three are recognized by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA): horizontal gaze nystagmus, walk-and-turn, and the one-leg stand. During the administration of these tests, officers are required to follow certain guidelines to ensure accurate results. However, these tests are still highly subjective and the scoring could be influenced by the officer’s own bias.
Of the standard field sobriety tests, the horizontal gaze nystagmus is generally viewed as the most scientific. In this test, the officer asks an individual to follow an object with his or her eyes, while the officer looks for signs of early nystagmus (involuntary jerking). If an individual exhibits a certain number of signs, it may be used as evidence of intoxication.
While drugs or alcohol can cause nystagmus, there are a number of other medical and eye conditions that can cause this jerking. A lawyer can look into your medical history to determine if your failing score was caused by something other than being under the influence.
The one-leg stand and walk-and-turn tests are known as divided attention tests; that is, they require you to focus on instructions and perform a physical task at the same time. While this may sound simple, it’s actually quite difficult, especially if you have a physical condition that prohibits you from performing the test are required, if you are distracted or nervous, or if the test is administered on anything but a dry, level surface. Your attorney can look into these tests to determine if there were any factors that could have led to your poor test performance.
Contact a Utah DUI Lawyer Now for Qualified Defense
Our attorneys have undergone intensive training on the field sobriety tests, which gives them the knowledge necessary to challenge inaccurate or poorly administered roadside tests. They will review the evidence in your case to determine if a field sobriety test defense is the best option for your situation, and will do everything they can in an attempt to keep a DUI off your record.