After a DUI arrest, most people are concerned about what might happen to them. Will they keep their license? What about their job? Is this going to affect their career? Sadly, in many cases a DUI means serious negative consequences all around. However, there is hope. When you choose to work with an experienced DUI lawyer, there are often options that can help to improve your chances of avoiding some or all of these negative outcomes. One of the most common tools a defense lawyer can use is looking for ways to suppress unlawfully obtained evidence. Here is how it works:
Grounds for Attacking DUI Charges
In general, you may be able to attack the charges in a number of ways, including:
- Disputing validity of blood alcohol testing or field sobriety tests
- Arguing that the arrest was improper
- Arguing against probable cause for the stop
- Arguing evidence was mishandled
- Unlawful search or seizure
While there are many other legal strategies, these tend to be the most common options for fighting against a DUI arrest.
Blood Alcohol Tests and Field Sobriety Tests
While prosecutors and police may not want to readily admit it, all tests are potentially flawed. Breath and blood tests are only as good as the people administering them. Giving a test incorrectly or misreading data obtained from the test can be grounds for moving a court to strike the evidence as unreliable.
Under the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, police may not subject a private citizen to unlawful search or seizure. The U.S. Supreme Court has narrowed this term over the years. Basically, this term means that police must have a reasonable suspicion that a crime is being or has just been committed before they can search you or your property. Police cannot unlawfully begin searching you, seizing your property, or holding you against your will just because they feel like it. If the police lacked a reasonable ground to detain or stop you, then you may be able to get the evidence obtained during that stop suppressed.
Fruit of the Poisonous Tree
This legal theory simply holds that if the police mess up and unlawfully violates your rights by searching you without consent or probable cause then any evidence obtained in such a search cannot be used. That evidence is obtained illegally and therefore, even if it is clear from the evidence that you are guilty, it cannot be used to prove your guilt. To do so would encourage the government to continue violating people’s rights.
Mishandling of Evidence
Police are required to maintain a proper chain of custody in order to ensure evidence is not tampered with. When police fail to follow procedure, as often happens, a skilled defense lawyer may be able to get the court to exclude the evidence as unreliable or tainted.
How to Wage a Strong Defense Against a DUI Arrest
The best way to build a strong case and wage a defense is to speak with a skilled and experienced criminal defense lawyer who can help you understand your rights. Sometimes it’s best to fight; other times it may be better to negotiate. Whatever your options, David Aylor Law Offices is here to help. Call to speak with an attorney today.
David Aylor is a Criminal Defense Attorney who practices in Charleston, Walterboro, and Myrtle Beach, SC. He graduated from the University of South Carolina School of Law, and has been practicing law for 11 years. David Aylor believes in defending the accused. Learn more about his experience by clicking here.