Jail time, vehicle impoundment, hefty fines, license suspension and community service. These are short- and long-term consequences of driving under the influence (DUI) convictions.
Seeking legal aid is a must if you believe the charge is unjust or the penalties are unfair. The option to represent yourself is always available, however, fighting the subjective nature of DUI arrests and the flaws of blood-alcohol content (BAC) tests on your own won’t be easy.
Confirmation bias in DUI stops
In many criminal cases, a police officer or investigator might base a charge on their initial suspicions. DUI arrests are no different, and sometimes further field sobriety tests (FSTs) only feed into the confirmation bias or assumptions of the police officer.
These are some signs or FST results that may indicate health conditions rather than impaired driving:
- Bloodshot eyes – this could indicate many conditions besides alcohol consumption, like allergies, infections or a lack of sleep
- Poor balance – you could fail a traditional one-leg stand test because of motion sickness, a side effect from a prescribed medication or due to a head injury
- Situational anxiety – failure of other, not-so-traditional FSTs, like counting backwards or singing the alphabet, could be the result of anxiety or general nervousness
If you forget to mention any pre-existing conditions to the officer, then be sure to write it down as you begin to build your case.
BAC test shortcomings
Although BAC tests are math-based, rather than reliant on human judgment, numbers can lie.
Even if your BAC is at the national legal limit of 0.08%, your attorney could still challenge your DUI charge based on the breathalyzer results. Some defenses against the charge can include:
- The officer didn’t administer the breathalyzer test accurately
- The breathalyzer device wasn’t properly calibrated
- Your BAC didn’t hit the legal limit until after you began driving
- Indigestion or vomiting spiked up your BAC count
The odds may not seem in your favor if a cop pulled you over for drinking and driving, but an attorney can help lessen the negative impacts of a DUI charge.