Every day, almost 30 Americans lose their lives due to road accidents caused by drinking and driving. This is probably why DUI charges are more than burglary, aggravated assault, and murder crimes combined. DUI crimes may be common but are not taken lightly by the court system. State DUI laws vary, with Georgia being among the states with the harshest punishments for DUI charges.
Although the average sentence for DUI manslaughter is 10 years, it could escalate up to 60 years if you are guilty of gross negligence. The DUI defenses you present to the court will determine whether you walk out free or serve a harsh punishment.
You are already facing a serious offense, and your options are losing your license, paying a fine, or serving a jail term. A qualified lawyer will help you poke holes in your case and develop the best options for DUI defenses. Winning a DUI case requires you to have a deep knowledge of DUI laws in your state.
Keep reading here for the top four DUI defenses you and your lawyer should use in court.
1. Suffering From a Health Condition Is One of the Best DUI Defenses
Having a health condition that can make you appear drunk has not always been the best thing, but it could save you a lot in your DUI defense. All your lawyer needs to prove is that the condition can lead to the altercation of a breathalyzer test.
Besides, your attorney will explain neurological issues like sinus problems, watery eyes, wild allergies, and slurred speech as side effects of drugs taken to treat the condition.
For instance, ketosis is a side effect in diabetic patients that causes sugar fermentation in the blood. This leads to a blood alcohol content higher than 0.08, thus defaulting Georgia state DUI laws. False breath alcohol testing results can lead to an automatic drop in DUI charges.
2. Challenge Field Sobriety Tests
If the field sobriety test results are the main grounds for your DUI arrest, then you can relax. As a DUI defense strategy, you can challenge these results because the case against you is heavily reliant on the accounts recalled by the arresting officer.
When administering field sobriety tests, law officers must follow a standard procedure. The test must entail the walk-and-turn test, the one-leg stand, and the horizontal nystagmus test. The officer administering it must have the proper training and the test conditions perfect.
If your lawyer can convince the court that the state did not follow the set procedure in any way, then the court will have to dismiss any evidence gathered against you based on the test results. Inform your lawyer if the officers were intimidating or inappropriate when conducting the test, since this will increase the state’s chances of dropping the charges.
FST observations are not direct proof of intoxication. Your DUI defense attorney can explain a failed test in so many ways. For instance, nerves, fatigue, clothing, and type of shoes can explain your lack of coordination and poor balance. A field sobriety test has many weak spots, which you and your lawyer can use to your advantage.
3. Right to Seek Counsel
According to Georgia state DUI laws, a person under investigation has the right to seek counsel under the condition that it will not stop the investigation from happening. Prosecutors should not interrogate defendants without the consent of their attorneys.
Yet, some law enforcement officers try to take shortcuts by presenting defendants with attractive bargains, often using means that the court system would frown upon. Proving the prosecution team or any other officer tried to make a bargain with you outside legal procedure can quickly close the deal. If you can prove that there was inappropriate communication, then the case might easily work in your favor.
Moreover, you can always file a motion to dismiss evidence based on the lack of a lawyer. The state must prove that the provision of a lawyer would have led to the interference of the DUI investigation. Otherwise, there will be the nullification of all evidence acquired, and the charges dropped.
4. Police Stopping the Car Without Legal Reason
A police officer does not have the right to stop a vehicle unless they are sure that the persons in that vehicle are violating a law. Neither can they arrest someone unless they witness them committing a crime. The state is responsible for proving the legal acquisition of evidence, according to the fourth amendment of the US constitution.
The amendment protects all citizens from random searches. This means that a police officer cannot stop you based on a guess. If you were observing traffic rules, driving a road-worthy vehicle, and observing the speed limit, there is a likelihood that the officer did not have reasonable grounds to pull you over.
Reasons like driving at night or looking drunk are not justifiable. If the officer had no legal reason to stop you, you could easily argue this one out. Your DUI defense lawyer will probably file a motion to suppress evidence and have the charges dropped with no time.
Get a Qualified DUI Defense Attorney
Being presented in court and having to defend yourself against a prosecution team is not a joyful ride. It can especially be stressful when someone dies because of the accident that led to your arrest. Although DUI arrests are as common as ticket trials, they are more serious as the jury interprets them as intentional harm to human life. As much as Georgia state DUI laws are harsh, an arrest does not imply automatic conviction.