When you are facing a charge of driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs or alcohol in Georgia, it can seem like there is no hope. This is not the case. You can present a strong legal defense to protect your constitutional rights. There are ways to challenge the evidence the prosecutor intends to use against you at trial, or even keep that evidence away from the jury.
You should not lose hope. With the help of an experienced Atlanta DUI attorney, you can set forth a strong defense. Never assume that you are guilty just because you are accused of a crime.
After a person has been arrested for a DUI, that person is likely concerned about the impact a conviction will have on his or her life. It is crucial to remember that an arrest is not a conviction, and the prosecutor must still prove the case "beyond a reasonable doubt" before you can ever be convicted.
There are certain things that an Atlanta DUI defense attorney can challenge in your DUI case in order to seek an acquittal of your charges, or even a dismissal before you get to trial. These DUI defenses can include, but is not limited to:
- The Initial Traffic Stop: When a traffic stop is done for an unconstitutional reason, any evidence collected as a result of the stop could be kept out of evidence through a suppression motion. This often leads to dismissal of the DUI charges against you.
- DUI Roadside Checkpoints: When police use a roadside checkpoint to hunt for intoxicated drivers, they must follow very specific guidelines. They often mess this up, and the result could be the dismissal of your charges.
- Field Sobriety Tests: Field sobriety tests are not known for their accuracy, and can be challenged in court to help defend your DUI case.
- Blood or Breath Tests: Both blood and breath tests can be performed incorrectly, and when this is the case, the evidence of them can be kept out or challenged at trial.
- Refusal: When a person refuses a chemical test under Georgia's implied consent law, that person can face certain additional penalties. However, many times a person did not actually refuse, and the officer misunderstood.
There are an incredible variety of different defenses that can be raised to your DUI charges. By speaking with a knowledgeable DUI attorney about the specific facts of your case, you can create a uniquely powerful defense to your criminal charges.
Fighting a DUI Charge
There are many reasons it is important to fight your DUI charge, and not simply plead guilty. The prosecutor will attempt to convince you there is no hope in fighting the charge, but this is not the case.
When a person pleads guilty or is convicted of a DUI, it appears on that person's criminal record, and his or her driving record. A DUI charge comes with significant penalties, as well as collateral consequences such as:
- possible loss of employment
- loss of driver's license
- social stigma
- loss of professional license
- enrollment in DUI school
How to Fight
The fight begins with a "not guilty" plea and the hiring of your experienced Georgia DUI attorney. You can challenge the techniques and testimony of the arresting officers, and keep out unconstitutional evidence.
Challenging Breath Tests
Breath tests can be wrong (and often are). Challenging breath tests is an important part of defending your case. There are a lot of variables that can cause a breathalyzer to be inaccurate. An experienced Atlanta DUI lawyer can analyze the tests used in your case, and the officer's use of them, to look for problems that can invalidate the results.
Officers often make the following mistakes when using breathalyzers:
- failure to use equipment in accordance with policy
- failure to follow manufacturer guidelines
- incorrectly fill out breathalyzer forms
- not ensuring suspect has not consumed alcohol in last 15 to 20 minutes
- failure to take into account other medications
Other challenges can relate to the condition of the person being tested. Residual mouth alcohol is often a major problem, and can come from:
- cough syrups, and
- breath sprays
Certain medications can also affect breathalyzer results. With the help of your attorney, you can analyze your unique case to challenge the breath tests the prosecutor is trying to use to prove you guilty.
Challenging Blood Tests
Challenging blood tests is another crucial part of defending your Georgia DUI charge. To challenge a blood test begins with an investigation of the DUI arrest itself. If law enforcement did not follow strict guidelines in making the arrest, the evidence of the blood tests could be inadmissible at trial.
To challenge blood test results, you and your attorney can look at the facts of your case to determine if mistakes were made. These can include, but are not limited to:
- sample size errors
- use of an untrained or improperly trained professional who conducted the blood draw
- mistakes with the blood draw procedure
- equipment used to draw the blood or store the blood sample was not properly sterilized
- the sample was not properly stored while in transit to the lab
- the equipment that tested the blood was not properly calibrated
- the lab techs that tested the blood performed the test incorrectly or were unqualified to perform the test
- problems with the chain of custody for the sample exist
- the sample was not properly stored after the test
Every DUI case is different. When you consult with an experienced Georgia DUI lawyer, you can address these differences unique to your case to find the mistakes, and use them to stop the prosecutor from convicting you. Your rights deserve to be protected.
Consult an Atlanta DUI Attorney
If you or someone you care about has been arrested for DUI, understanding how to defend your case can help you understand what you face, and prevent a conviction.