Drunk driving charges can lead to far-ranging negative consequences for accused drivers including the loss of their license and jail time. For that reason, accused drivers should know how they can challenge drunk driving charges when needed. There are several primary ways of challenging drunk driving charges.
Was the traffic stop valid?
A police officer is required to have reasonable suspicion that a crime has been committed to pull over a driver. Reasonable suspicion might include speeding, weaving or erratic driving as examples. If the police officer does not have a basis for stopping the vehicle, the accused driver may be able to pursue dismissal of the charges as a violation of their constitutional rights and illegal.
Challenging a field sobriety test
Another option for challenging drunk driving charges may be to challenge a field sobriety test. Field sobriety tests may be improperly conducted or the police officer administering the field sobriety test may not be properly trained to do so. There are several different types of field sobriety tests that may be given to the accused driver. Problems with field sobriety tests can include if the test was administered on uneven pavement or in poorly lit conditions; if the driver was not wearing appropriate shoe wear; or if the police officer failed to properly explain test instructions.
Validity of chemical and breathalyzer tests
If the accused driver was subjected to a breath, blood or urine test, it is important that whatever test was administered that it was properly conducted for accuracy and reliability. One important question to ask is if a breathalyzer test was properly maintained and calibrated. Another question may be if any blood test that was taken was properly stored after the blood was drawn.
If the traffic stop was not legal or a field sobriety or breathalyzer test was questionable, it may be possible to challenge drunk driving charges. Because of the serious consequences associated with DUI charges, accused drivers should be familiar with the different criminal defense options that may help them.