Defenses to DUI
After a drunk driving arrest, many people feel anxious about the potential consequences. It is important to remember that, even when you think the evidence stacked against you, there may be defenses to beat the charges or mitigate the penalties. If you have been arrested for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, a defense lawyer can develop an appropriate strategy to protect your rights. At Ellis and Bryant, our Jacksonville lawyers have the experience and dedication to advance any defenses to DUI that may apply in your case.Defenses to Florida DUIs
The defenses that may apply in a Florida DUI case depend on the facts and circumstances of each case. Below are a few of the most common defense strategies. A DUI attorney can advise you of the best approach to take in your case.Insufficient Evidence
Many defenses to DUI focus on insufficient or flawed evidence. To get a conviction, the prosecution must have enough evidence to prove each element of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt. For a basic DUI, this requires proving that the defendant was in actual physical control of a vehicle, and either was impaired by alcohol and/or drugs, or had a blood alcohol level of .08 or more.
In some DUI cases, there is not enough evidence to convict. A defense attorney may be able to convince the prosecution to drop the charges or offer a favorable plea deal by pointing out any weaknesses in their case. The lack of evidence may also become apparent later on as the court rules on evidentiary objections. If a key piece of evidence is thrown out, such as the results of a chemical test, the prosecution may no longer have the proof required for a conviction.Unlawful Stop or Arrest
Challenging an unlawful traffic stop is crucial in some DUI cases. In Florida, a police officer must have a valid legal reason to pull you over. If you were pulled over without cause, the court may find that the stop was unconstitutional and dismiss the DUI charge. A sobriety checkpoint that was not conducted lawfully may also result in dismissal of a corresponding DUI charge.
To make a lawful DUI arrest, the police must have probable cause that an individual was driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs. If the officer did not actually witness the person driving or did not observe any legitimate signs of intoxication, for example, there may not be probable cause for an arrest. Evidence gathered from an illegal arrest or Miranda violation is inadmissible and may lead to dismissal.Challenging Test Results
Breath, blood, and urine tests are used to measure alcohol and/or drugs levels in a person’s system. Chemical and breathalyzer tests must be administered lawfully and processed by a chain of custody, or the results may not be used in court. Even when test results are admissible, the defense may offer a rebuttal. If there is a possibility that the breathalyzer gave a false reading due to poor calibration or contaminated, for example, the defense may cast doubt on the accuracy of the results.Involuntary Intoxication
Involuntary intoxication is an affirmative defense in Florida. In a DUI case, the defense may arise if a defendant unexpectedly became intoxicated by taking their prescribed medication as directed. It does not apply, however, if the defendant abused their medication by intentionally exceeding the prescribed dosage. The defense may also be asserted if a defendant unknowingly ingested an intoxicating substance through no fault of their own.Contact a Jacksonville Lawyer to Discuss Defenses to DUI
Avoiding a DUI conviction begins with developing a suitable defense to the allegations. At Ellis and Bryant, our Jacksonville DUI defense attorneys have the experience to help you fight charges for drunk driving, drug DUI, and any other offenses. We represent defendants in criminal cases throughout Clay County and Duval County, particularly Orange Park, Jacksonville Beach, and Middleburg. Request a free consultation by calling (904) 551-4120 or contacting us online.