Both DWI (Driving while Intoxicated) and DUI (Driving under the Influence) are serious offenses. Penalties for any of these can be very serious. If you have been charged with a DWI or DUI, you should have clear understanding of all defenses available to you. If you have a viable defense, it will help you convince the prosecution to get the complaint revoked or the charges lessened and prevent suspension of your driving license or even you may be acquitted at trial.
In a DUI Case, it’s the prosecutor’s responsibility to prove that the defendant was driving a vehicle ‘under the influence’, implying that he or she was impaired or a prohibited amount of alcohol or drugs was found in the person’s body.
Most DUI offenses are based on this component and prosecution must prove it to get a conviction. State laws, to some extent, define and explain the available defenses for an individual slapped with a DUI charge.
“Driving” Related Defenses
The laws in some states safeguard you from DUI conviction unless you were driving a vehicle. Broadly speaking, if you were found asleep behind the wheel in a parked vehicle in any of these states when police arrived, it will give you a good defense.
However, in other states, proof of actual driving does not matter for a DUI conviction. The prosecutions need to prove that the defendant was “in actual physical control” of or operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol ‘beyond the permissible’ limit orillegal drugs. Therefore, even if you were not sitting idle behind the wheel and the car was not in motion, police would bring a DUI charge against you.
Defense Related Arrest Procedure
If the police are not following the proper procedure while making an arrest for a DUI, the defendant has some strong defenses against the charge leveled against him or her. Defenses in connection to arrest procedures usually involve an argument that because police did not conform to the laws when making an arrest or stopping the vehicle, certain evidences should not be taken into consideration.
No Legitimate Reason for Arrest
Police need a probable cause to make an arrest or even stop a vehicle. Practically, any violation of traffic rule will suffice. But if police pulls your car over to a side without any probable cause, all the collected evidences will be discarded in court.
Even if there is a valid reason to stop a car, the action does not qualify for a proper DUI arrest. The police officer must be able to show some convincing reasons how the motorist actually violated the state’s DUI laws.
Probable cause for a DUI arrest is usually based on the officer’s observations and in some cases, breath-test results. It’s not easy to challenge both types of evidences.
No Miranda Warnings
Miranda warnings play a role in DUI cases, though occasionally. Police have to give Miranda warnings before questioning a DUI suspect in police custody. If no Miranda warnings are given and the person in police custody makes an incriminating statement when responding to police probing, it will not be admissible against the suspect in the court.