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Common DUI Defense Strategies in California

Posted on in Criminal Defense

San Jose DUI defense attorneys, DUI defense strategiesWhile each DUI case is different, there are several defense strategies utilized by experienced DUI defense lawyers. Hence, understanding the five DUI defenses commonly asserted in California is essential.

1. I was improperly stopped by the police.

In the United States, the U.S. Constitution prohibits police officers from pulling over or stopping individuals without reasonable suspicion. A police officer has reasonable suspicion, and can therefore legally pull over a driver, if he or she reasonably suspects that the driver is engaging in illegal activity. For example, if a police officer is driving along and notices the car in front of him or her swerving in and out of their lane, then it is reasonable for the police officer to suspect that the driver is intoxicated and to briefly stop the driver in order to investigate.

However, if it can be shown that the arresting police officer pulled the defendant over without reasonable suspicion, then any evidence that the police acquired from the illegal stop will not be admissible in court. If you can get most, or all, of the prosecution’s evidence thrown out, then there is a good chance that your DUI charges will be dismissed.

2. I can explain why the arresting officer mistakenly believed that I was driving under the influence. 

If the officer who arrested you reported that you smelled of alcohol, had bloodshot eyes, had poor motor skills, or slurred your speech, then you may be able to explain away these potentially damaging observations. For example, an individual may exhibit traits like these that are commonly associated with the consumption of alcohol if they have a medical condition, or are experiencing a side effect of a legally prescribed medication or and over-the-counter drug. 

3. The results of my field sobriety test are not valid. 

When a driver is pulled over under suspicion of driving under the influence, he or she is often asked to perform roadside sobriety tests. These tests commonly include walking in a straight line, balancing on one foot, or touching an outstretched finger to the tip of the driver’s nose. In some instances, a DUI defendant can properly argue that the results of their field sobriety test are not a valid indication of intoxication because some other factor caused them to test poorly. For example, a defendant may be able to argue that he or she performed poorly due to being overweight, has a physical impairment, is uncoordinated, was wearing restrictive clothing or shoes, or suffered from unfavorable weather conditions.

4. The police officer recorded a heightened BAC reading from my breathalyzer test.

DUI defendants often argue that their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) reading was inaccurate due to:

  • The testing equipment being improperly maintained or calibrated;
  • User error causing an inaccurate BAC level to be recorded;
  • Malfunctioning BAC equipment; or
  • Inaccurate results due to prior ingestion of over-the-counter products such as mouthwash.

5. While my BAC was over the legal limit when measured, my BAC was not over the legal limit while I was driving.

This is called the “rising blood alcohol concentration” argument. Here, a DUI defendant is essentially claiming that he or she was not legally intoxicated while driving, despite the fact that when his or her BAC level was measured it was over the legal limit. This argument is based on the fact that it takes awhile for alcohol to be absorbed into the body and that, consequently, it is possible that a DUI defendant’s BAC level was not over the limit while he or she was driving but was increasing since his or her last drink, and was therefore over the legal limit by the time the police tested his or her BAC.

Contact a San Jose Criminal Defense Lawyer to Discuss Your Case

Were you arrested for driving under the influence in Northern California? Contact the experienced San Jose DUI defense attorneys at Jachimowicz Law Group without delay. The sooner you contact us the sooner we can get to work putting together your defense strategy. We offer a free, no obligation initial consultation during which one of our attorneys will review the facts of your DUI case and explain your legal options. Protect your rights. Contact us today.




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