We’ve been looking in recent posts at the two bases on which the government can build a drunken driving case, and some of the issues that need to be considered when building a strong defense against DUI charges. As we’ve noted, meeting or exceeding the legal blood alcohol limit and intoxication sufficient to render one incapable of safely operating a motor vehicle are two potential bases for DUI charges, and each involve their own unique considerations.
In cases where an individual is charged with DUI based on inability to safely operate a motor vehicle, prosecutors usually rely on several pieces of evidence. Prosecutors will rely on things like traffic violations, the odor of alcohol, a demeanor suggesting intoxication, and the drivers own admissions. Roadside sobriety tests can also come into play as well.
Though there is some variation in roadside sobriety testing, the standard version includes examination of the eyes for specific movements, walking and turning, and standing on one leg. Standard field sobriety testing can be challenged on several bases. Such testing must be carefully scrutinized in any DUI defense for reliability.
For one thing, officers must be properly trained to perform the tests, and must actually perform them properly. In addition, some defendants may have medical conditions, physical limitations or injuries which interfere with the reliability of field sobriety testing results. When there is doubt about the reliability of sobriety testing, it is important to exploit this in building a strong defense case.
Prosecutors may rely on other evidence as well in DUI cases based on inability to safety drive. Whatever evidence is used to prosecute these charges, defendants should always work with an experienced attorney to ensure they have a strong advocate on their side and that they have the best possible chance of achieving a just outcome in their case.