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Some common defenses to a DUI charge

On Behalf of | Dec 14, 2021 | Drunk Driving |

Most all states take drunk driving seriously and impose various penalties. If drivers in Newark, New Jersey, get pulled over on suspected DUI, an officer can conduct tests. They arrest drivers based on their observations, but drivers can fight charges.

Inaccurate breathalyzer

A breathalyzer takes a breath sample from the driver to determine the blood alcohol content level. However, breathalyzers are not always accurate and certain factors can cause a false positive for sober drivers.

Some health conditions, such as diabetes and GERD, can produce ketones, which have content similar to alcohol. The officer conducting the test must be trained to use the test properly and the test must be calibrated or checked for accuracy. Drunk driving defense attorneys may petition the court to order calibration records of the device in question.

Lack of reasonable suspicion and probable cause

An officer cannot legally pull a driver over without reasonable suspicion, which means the officer needs cause to believe the driver is intoxicated. They need to witness certain actions, such as constant swerving or excessive speeding, to make a legal stop.

The officer needs probable cause to make an arrest for drunk driving, which requires evidence from observations and tests. If there are witnesses, they may be able to challenge the officer’s observations to cast doubt.

Field tests not conducted properly

An officer may use field tests, such as walking a straight line, to test the driver for intoxication. The officer looks for a number of specific cues, such as losing balance and following directions, that may indicate DUI.

Certain health conditions can make the tests challenging for sober drivers, such as weight, age, brain injuries, or muscular disorders. Environmental conditions can affect the test results, which include uneven ground, poor lighting, rain, and mud.

There are also some less common defenses, such as duress, or they were not driving. Drunk driving carries stiff penalties, and drivers can lose their license for refusing chemical tests.