You are not automatically guilty after being arrested for a DUI. Prosecutors must first prove that you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt before you can be charged with a crime. If you are arrested for a DUI, then it is important to contact an attorney for help. Depending on the circumstances, an attorney may be able to argue for a reduction or dismissal of charges. These instances may include:
- Malfunctioning breathalyzers: If you are pulled over on suspicion of a DUI, then law enforcement may use a breathalyzer to determine your blood alcohol content (BAC). Breathalyzers may have defects that produce inaccurate readings.
- Improper field sobriety tests: Law enforcement may ask you to take a field sobriety test during a DUI stop. There are three field sobriety tests sanctioned by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Police officers may incorrectly administer or evaluate one or more of these three tests. In addition, other factors not related to alcohol or drug intoxication could have caused you to fail. Field sobriety tests are notorious for producing false positives.
- Lack of probable cause: Police officers must have a reason to stop, detain and place you under arrest. In other words, they must have probable cause or reasonable suspicion. An attorney may argue for a dismissal of charges if police lacked probable cause.
- Factors unrelated to intoxication: Certain health conditions, such as acid reflux disease, may cause inaccurate results on a breathalyzer test. Diabetes and hypoglycemia may also confuse a breathalyzer. Mouthwash can trigger a false reading because it may contain trace amounts of alcohol.
- Police misconduct: If police violate your constitutional rights during a DUI stop, then an attorney may be able to argue for a reduction or dismissal of charges. It would depend on the circumstances.
Do I Need an Attorney After a DUI in the Bay Area?
We have only discussed a few possible examples of where an attorney could argue for a reduction or dismissal of charges. Each arrest is going to be slightly different, so it is important to have an experienced attorney review the details of your case.
The penalties for a DUI in California are steep and may affect multiple areas of your life. This is especially true if you are being charged with a felony DUI in California. In addition to jail time, it could become much more difficult to secure employment or housing if you are charged. Do not take a chance with the rest of your life by not calling an attorney.
Bay Area criminal defense attorney Daniel Jensen has more than 35 years of experience working in the criminal justice system. In addition to spending 14 years working in law enforcement, Daniel Jensen also has 25 years of experience practicing law in civil, criminal, state and federal courts.