Defense Strategies for California DUIs

Defense Strategies for California DUIs

It is all too easy to feel discouraged about a DUI charge in California. Perhaps you have never been charged with a crime before, and you are mortified about the potential ramifications. Maybe you are worried about how this will affect your career, your family life, and your freedoms. You may feel as though the evidence is stacked against you. While this can certainly be a daunting experience, you should know that there are many potential DUI defense strategies. Many of these defenses have proven effective in the past, and they could provide similar results for you. Consider these potential options, and you may begin to feel more optimistic about your situation:

You Were Not Driving

Perhaps the most obvious way to fight a DUI charge is to argue that you were not driving at the time of the alleged offense. If you were not driving, it is perfectly legal to have a BAC level of over 0.08%. This may apply most effectively to cases of mistaken identity. For example, you might have traveling as a passenger when police stopped you and another driver. For whatever reason, the police officer may have become convinced that you were driving. If you can show that you were a passenger and not a driver, you can escape all charges.

This defense strategy may also apply to parked vehicles. If you were parked at the time of your offense, you could argue that you were merely sitting in your vehicle. Perhaps it was cold or rainy, and you simply wanted shelter while calling a cab. Perhaps you fell asleep without ever starting your vehicle. For this strategy to be successful, there must be no sign of recent driving. Leaving your keys in the ignition can be enough to convince authorities that you were recently driving.

Finally, you could argue that you were not driving on public roads. It is perfectly legal to drive drunk on your property (or someone else’s if you were not trespassing). California’s traffic laws only apply to public roads, and officers have no authority on private land. If you were operating your vehicle drunkenly in your own driveway or rural property, you may escape charges.

You Were Not Intoxicated

If you were clearly driving the vehicle at the time of the alleged offense and there is no way to prove otherwise, it may be more logical to show that you were not intoxicated. Perhaps the most obvious strategy is to challenge the results of your tests. This might include a Breathalyzer test, a blood test, or a urine test. Alternatively, police may ask you to perform field sobriety tests without any chemical tests.

All of these various tests have the potential to be completely unreliable. A Breathalyzer test must be properly calibrated to provide accurate results. Officers who are not properly trained to administer these tests often make mistakes. False positives are relatively common, and your California DUI defense attorney can help you challenge these results in various ways. The same basic logic applies to urine and blood tests.

Even if there is nothing wrong with these test results, you may have triggered false positive results by consuming perfectly legal substances. Using mouthwash prior to a Breathalyzer test has been shown to generate false positives. The same goes for various fermented foods, including Kombucha. Certain medications may also mimic the presence of alcohol in your blood.

Police Stopped You Unlawfully

Another strategy is to argue that you were detained unlawfully by police officers. Although this strategy can be challenging, it can still provide results. With this approach, you will need to show that the police officers violated State laws, the US Constitution, or their own policies leading up to your arrest. If you can show that the arrest occurred under unlawful circumstances, anything that follows is inadmissible in court – including test results.

Generally speaking, police need a valid reason to pull you over and accuse you of drunk driving. This might include erratic driving, mechanical issues, traffic violations, and so on. If you were driving perfectly with no signs of intoxication, then police officers are not allowed to detain you. This is due to your protection against unreasonable searches and seizures under the U.S. Constitution.

Police officers may be legally required to inform you of your rights prior to requesting or ordering a Breathalyzer test. If they do not do this, anything that follows may be illegal and, therefore, inadmissible in court. A police officer can also commit many other unlawful acts during a DUI arrest, such as excessive force.

Accept a Plea Deal

Of course, you can always accept a plea deal instead of pleading not guilty. This may be the best option in many situations, especially when you face overwhelming evidence. When you accept a plea deal, you agree to plead guilty in exchange for leniency from the court. For example, pleading guilty might allow you to serve community service and probation instead of jail time.

Your DUI defense attorney in California can help you assess whether this is truly the best option. Remember that pleading guilty means that you will have a criminal charge on your record. It may be more appropriate to fight the charges if your criminal record will affect your career or rights. Ultimately, the decision to accept a plea deal depends on your unique situation.

Administration Per Se

In California, you might also face a DMV hearing after a DUI. This “administration per se” or “APS” hearing may result in the loss of your license. However, your defense attorney in California can represent you during this hearing and execute various defense strategies. If you “win” your APS hearing, you will not face any further consequences. Experienced DUI defense lawyers in California use strategies based on their knowledge of the Vehicle Code, and they can cast doubt upon the evidence brought against you. Your lawyer might expose mistakes made by the arresting officer. They may also call into question the chemical test results.

Find a Qualified DUI Defense Lawyer in San Bernardino County

If you have been searching for a DUI defense lawyer in San Bernardino County, look no further than Milligan, Beswick, Levine & Knox, LLP. Over the years, we have helped numerous DUI defendants – and we have employed numerous defense strategies over the years. While an online article may help you consider your options, the most appropriate defense strategy depends entirely on your unique situation. To discuss your circumstances in more detail, be sure to call us at 909-894-0812 or book a consultation at your earliest convenience. Reach out today to get started.

About Top Legal Firm

Daniel Tan is chief editor of Top Legal Firm. Top Legal Firm is a free lawyers & law firm directory and legal blog that accept guest posts on wide range of topics. Contact Daniel Tan to publish your legal blog.

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