DUI Defense Strategies
What DUI defenses can be used in your case?
You may think that you have no hope of fighting your DUI charges, but there could be nothing further from the truth. Just because you have been arrested for driving under the influence, this does not mean there isn't something that can be done to fight your charges. As an experienced Lynnwood DUI attorney, we have been helping the residents of Lynnwood and Washington State for over 25 years. Our team is here to help you protect your rights and try to keep your license from being suspended.
What are Common DUI Defenses?
There are several types of defenses that can be made after being arrested or charged with a DUI offense. Affirmative DUI defenses are rare, but are one way to fight against DUI charges, these include driving as a necessity due to a greater evil, entrapment, involuntary intoxication and duress. Duress means that the defendant drove under the influence in order to avoid serious injury. Entrapment involves an officer requesting the person to drive even while they are drunk. These are less common than other DUI defenses but have occurred in the past. Some of the more common defenses to DUI charges include:
- Improper stop- meaning that the officer did not have probable cause to stop the driver
- Inaccuracy of field sobriety test- meaning that the administration or results of the field sobriety test was inaccurate or improper
- Inaccuracy of Breathalyzer test- meaning that there was intervening factors or the test was not administered properly
- Rising blood alcohol concentration- meaning that the BAC level was below the legal limit while driving but it increased while the defendant was waiting for the test to be administered
- Blood test chain of custody- meaning that the administration of the blood test could have caused an inaccurate result, it could be tampered with or mishandled
You may be able to offer valid explanations for your appearance or behavior or you can offer witnesses who observed something different than the officer. Challenging the procedures of the arresting officer is also a common argument in a DUI case. There are precise steps that law enforcement must follow when conducting tests and arresting a suspect. After investigation, you may be able to find flaws and errors in the process.
With a former prosecutor on our team, we know exactly what the prosecution is looking for when they go to convict someone. We have handled thousands of cases and have learned that if there is any legal defense to use on your behalf, then we will find it.
Some of the defenses that can be used when facing DUI charges include the following:
- What probable cause did the arresting officer have to pull you over?
- Was your arrest handled lawfully?
- How were the field sobriety tests administered?
- How was the breathalyzer test administered?
- Has the breathalyzer been properly maintained?
- Were there any medical conditions that affected your test results?
If the arresting officers failed to follow exact procedures, that evidence can be challenged and possibly excluded from being used against you. An unlawfully administered breath test can throw the prosecution's main piece of evidence out the window. We will analyze all aspects of your case, from your initial traffic stop to the arrest. We know what we're looking for and if there were any mistakes made, we can help you get your charges dismissed or reduced.
Challenging the Breath Test
A driver will face DUI charges in Lynnwood if he or she is arrested for suspected drunk driving and takes a breath test or blood test that shows a result of .08% or greater. Most often, breath tests are used in these cases. In the wake of a "failed" breath test, it may seem that there is nowhere to turn and no way to avoid a conviction.
However, with the proper DUI defense representation it may be possible to disprove the results of a breath test. These devices have inherent faults and may malfunction if they are not properly calibrated and maintained. An attorney experienced in handling drunk driving charges will know what to look for in faulty breath tests to help a defendant avoid a conviction.
We understand exactly how to look into a breath test to determine whether it can hold up in court, bringing to light such issues as:
- A breath test device that was not properly calibrated in accordance with state regulations
- A test that was administered by an unqualified or untrained individual
- A test that was improperly administered (for example, the driver should be monitored for 15 minutes prior to the test to ensure that he or she does not belch, vomit, eat, drink, smoke or chew gum as this may alter test results)
- A breath test result that should be declared invalid due to a physical illness or condition that skewed the results (for example, gastroesophageal conditions have been known to adversely affect the outcome of a breath test)
If you are facing DUI charges, get the defense you need by contacting The Law Offices of Lance Fryrear today at (425) 224-7075!
Cross-Examination of the Arresting Officer
The arresting officer is typically the key witness in the prosecution's case against a defendant facing DUI charges in Lynnwood, WA. The officer will be all too ready to state, in court, that you drove erratically, made statements about what you had to drink, performed poorly on field sobriety tests or otherwise showed indicators of intoxication.
Though it may seem that the officer will be your biggest adversary in court proceedings, there are ways that a skilled Lynnwood criminal defense lawyer can challenge the arresting officer's testimony by conducting an effective, aggressive cross-examination.
An officer's age, particular experience and prejudice and degree of intelligence and honesty are all factors that should be considered by a DUI defense attorney when conducting a cross-examination. The officer may have done this hundreds of times before and may be completely at home on the stand or may be relatively new.
By approaching the officer as an individual and by using a tactful approach, an attorney may be effective in directing the course of the cross-examination in such a manner as to benefit the defense.
This may include asking questions in such a way as to have the officer finding him or herself agreeing with the defense attorney. It may include proving that the officer's tactics in making the arrest or performing tests were questionable at best.
Some issues to possibly address during cross-examination may include:
- The defendant's driving behavior - did he/she actually violate a traffic law or show other conduct that indicated intoxication, or was he/she simply leaving a bar at closing time?
- The defendant's statements and general behavior - do bloodshot eyes actually indicate intoxication, or could the defendant have been suffering from an allergic reaction? Did the defendant actually make statements that indicated that he/she had been drinking?
- Field sobriety tests - were these administered exactly as per procedure? Did the officer make an honest assessment of the driver's performance, without prejudice?
- The arrest - did the officer have probable cause to make an arrest for DUI? Was the defendant properly arrested?
DUI Defense Attorney in Lynnwood
Looking for a lawyer for your DUI case in Lynnwood, WA? I believe in providing you with personal and effective legal representation. I will do everything I can to keep you from going to jail and losing your license. I know how difficult a time this can be for you, and will therefore keep you fully informed of the status of your case every step of the way.
Call me today to get the help you need with your DUI charges.
Arrested for DUI? Contact a Lynnwood DUI lawyer today to discuss potential defenses against your drunk driving charges.
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