How To Successfully Fight a DUI Case
If you have been charged with driving under the influence (DUI) under California law, you may be facing a host of potential penalties that carry significant and severe consequences. Your punishment could include heavy fines, a suspension of your privilege to drive in California, imprisonment, increases in your insurance premiums, and impacts on your employment.
However, just because you have been charged with driving under the influence does not mean you will be convicted. A California criminal defense lawyer can skillfully navigate the legal process to evaluate potential defenses, weigh evidence, consult experts, and fight back against a conviction.
Presumption of Innocence and Burden of Proof
You are presumed to be innocent in all criminal cases – including a charge of driving under the influence. You always have a right to plead not guilty and make the prosecutor prove their case.
Even if you think you are guilty, you are entitled to the presumption of innocence. Our legal system requires the government in every prosecution to prove each and every element of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt.
In a DUI case, the prosecutor must prove the following elements: 1) you were operating a vehicle in California, 2) while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or some combination thereof, that rendered you incapable of safely driving.
The basic elements of a DUI prosecution are nonetheless rife with complexity for prosecutors. For example, what if you were involved in an accident and out of the vehicle before the police arrived? In that scenario, how can law enforcement prove you were, in fact, driving the vehicle, as opposed to some other person, unless you admit to doing so?
Or, what if you take prescription medication, or you consumed alcohol or drugs after exiting your vehicle, before the police came on the scene? How can the prosecutor prove that you were under the influence at the time of driving or operating a vehicle, as opposed to afterwards, which is the crux of a DUI prosecution? All a defendant needs to do is raise doubt.
Common Defenses in DUI Cases
There are numerous other defenses to a DUI charge in California that a lawyer can raise on your behalf in court.
First, you can challenge the legal basis of the traffic stop. You can argue that the officer lacked reasonable, articulable suspicion of a traffic violation to stop your vehicle on the highway. Therefore, any evidence obtained thereafter must be suppressed and kept out of evidence. Reviewing the dash cam footage from the traffic stop may show you were not speeding, swerving, or violating any traffic laws.
Second, you can argue that the prosecutor’s proof of intoxication is insufficient. You can argue that the field sobriety tests were improperly administered and, therefore, of dubious evidentiary value. All officers must follow the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration guidelines when administering roadside exercises to ensure that the results are reliable and based on established standards. If officers fail to follow the guidelines, the results are irrelevant because the tests were not performed against the known standard.
Additionally, you can challenge the reliability of the breath or blood test results. You can consult an expert witness, like a toxicologist or physician, who can evaluate your medical condition, the rate of absorption of alcohol or drugs into your bloodstream, and your consumption history on the date in question. This may establish that your blood alcohol level was below the applicable legal limit at the time of driving. This may be shown through a “rising BAC defense.”
Further, your attorney may be able to inspect the maintenance records of the equipment utilized by law enforcement to show that, in your case, the instrumentality used by the officer to measure your BAC – the “breath test machine” or intoxilyzer – may have malfunctioned and be unreliable. This may provide an additional avenue of defending against the DUI charge.
A Los Angeles DUI Defense Attorney Will Fight for Your Rights
A DUI charge can happen to anyone. It is not a crime of intent. Hardly anyone intends to drive intoxicated. While many may drive after consuming alcohol at a restaurant or social event, the crime of DUI must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Such cases are complex under California law, and a skilled, experienced criminal defense attorney can assist you in fighting back against the charge.
If you have been charged, it is important to speak right away with a Los Angeles DUI defense lawyer about the specific facts and circumstances of your case, identify defenses, go over the evidence, and develop a custom defense strategy to protect your rights and achieve the best possible outcome. Consulting a skilled lawyer is essential in every DUI case to ensure you receive comprehensive legal representation.
Contact the Los Angeles DUI Law Firm of The Rodriguez Law Group Today For Help
The Rodriguez Law Group – Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney
626 Wilshire Blvd Suite 460, Los Angeles, CA 90017, United States