Top 15 Challenges to Beat California DUIs
Even though a DUI is a serious offense, an experienced, skilled attorney with a comprehensive knowledge of California law is able to examine the details of your case and create a compelling defense on your behalf. Prosecutors may add enhancements to your charge, such as excessive impairment, a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of over 0.15%, and injury to another person. Despite these additional charges, there are a number of DUI defenses an attorney can use to effectively challenge their validity and often reduce or dismiss the charges altogether. For this reason, it is imperative to speak with an experienced DUI defense attorney before making a decision that can impact your record, your driver’s license, and even your career. Top San Diego DUI lawyer, Vincent Ross, explains, “I have seen first hand that people walk into court and think the evidence is so overwhelming that they just plead guilty on advice from a friend of family member because they feel that there is nothing that can be done. This is actually rarely the case, even in the most severe of cases, there are several different factors we use to evaluate a person’s case to make sure they are making the best decision.”The following summarizes 15 of the best defenses that the lawyers at San Diego DUI Attorney can utilize to defend you against DUI charges. If you have additional questions, we welcome you to call anytime and set up your free initial consultation. We understand that each person and each case are unique. At San DIego DUI Attorney, we will tailor your defense to ensure you receive the best result possible.
1. California Breathalyzers are subject to errors
California DUI breath tests have long been scrutinized for their accuracy and reliability. For example, we may be able to bring to light factors including, but not limited to, instrument malfunction and inaccurate calibration, improper technique used by the officer administering the test, the defendant’s diet at the time of arrest, and radio interference.
Most agencies use an Intoxilyzer 8000EN unit to obtain a breath sample. However, this does not always produce an accurate blood alcohol level because the test does not directly measure the amount of alcohol in the blood. This device is able to detect the amount of alcohol present in a person’s breath and uses a scientific formula to calculate the amount of alcohol in the blood. The results of this test are susceptible to a wide array of outside variable that may result in an erroneously high blood alcohol reading.
2. Mouth Alcohol
Breath test instruments are designed to capture a sample of alveolar air located deep in the lungs. If a person has recently had dental work, the instrument may detect small amounts of alcohol if the person regurgitated or burped during the test; or, if alcohol has soaked into food in the person’s teeth. In this situation, the machine may capture this “mouth alcohol,”rather then capturing alveolar air, resulting in an inaccurately high blood alcohol reading. It is important to discuss these factors during your consultation.
3. GERD, acid reflux, and heartburn contamination
GERD is an acronym for Gastroesphangeal Reflux disease, which, along with acid reflux and heartburn, can produce an inaccurate blood alcohol reading. These conditions can produce a flow of acid from the stomach to the mouth, which can disguise itself as the deep lung air the Breathalyzer is intended to measure. As a result, a person’s blood alcohol level may be falsely high on a blood test.
4. Low carbohydrate or high protein diets, diabetes, and hypoglycemia
Certain diets that are low in carbohydrates or high in protein, such as the Atkins diet, and certain medical conditions, such as diabetes and hypoglycemia, have been known to produce isopropyl alcohol in the body. When a body is deprived of carbohydrates, it turned to stored fat for every. The process of the body converting stored fat not energy produces chemicals called ketones. When ketones are broken down and eliminated from the body through either urine or the breath, they are converted into isopropyl alcohol. The instruments used in California are typically not sophisticated enough to tell the difference between isopropyl alcohol and the ethyl alcohol that indicates that a person has been drinking. As a result, certain diets or medical conditions can trick a breath test into producing a falsely high blood alcohol reading.
5. Your BAC at the time of driving vs. when you take the test
This situation is commonly referred to as rising blood alcohol. On average, alcohol absorbed into the body at a rate of 50 minutes to 3 hours after consumption. If you had just finished drinking alcohol and were stopped shortly thereafter for suspicion of a DUI, the alcohol may not be completely absorbed in your body, which could result in a falsely high blood alcohol reading. A “rising alcohol”situation does not result in an accurate blood alcohol concentration (BAC) reading. Just because a person’s BAC was over the legal limit when he or she submitted to a test, this does not necessarily mean that this was their BAC while they were driving. Prosecutors often assume that each defendant was beyond the level of peak absorption when they submitted to a breath or blood test. However, at San Diego DUI Attorney, we know that this is not always the case and the “rising alcohol”defense can be effective in court.
6. California DUI Blood Testing
There are a variety of factors that may raise suspicion about the validity of DUI blood test results. A few examples include blood fermentation, improper storage of the blood sample, and contamination. Your DUI defense lawyer will carefully examine the circumstancing surrounding the collection, documentation, and storage of your blood test sample and determine if the results can be excluded from evidence. When this occurs, it is often referred to as suppression.
7. Title 17 violations of the California Code
The state of California has established strict regulations for the collection, storage, and analysis of DUI chemical tests. Failure to adhere to these regulations may compromise the results and render them invalid as evidence. For example, if a trained technician or phlebotomist did not obtain the blood test, an attorney may file a motion for suppression. Another common violation results from improperly tested and/or poorly maintained testing equipment.
8. Probable Cause of the initial stop
An arresting officer must have sufficient reason to believe you were driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs to legally stop your vehicle. If the arresting officer is cannot establish that he or she had clear and eminent probable cause for the stop, the evidence obtained directly from the sop may be suppressed, meaning the prosecutor would not be able to use that evidence against you in court. If it is established that the arresting officer not have probable cause to stop, detain, question, or arrest you for a DUI, we may be able to get the case dismissed or secure a reduced plea offer outside of court.
9. Miranda rights not read
Despite what is often depicted on TV, an officer is not always required to read your Miranda rights during a DUI arrest. However, an officer is required to read your Miranda rights if, after you have been arrested, the officer begins a custodial investigation. This type of interrogation is designed to solicit an incriminating response from you after your arrest for a California DUI. If your rights are violated in respect to your Miranda rights, we will be able to use that to defend you in court.
10. Field tests did not accurately determine impairment
California field sobriety tests are not always accurate indicators that a individual was impaired at the time of arrest. Studies have determined that field sobriety tests (FSTs) are about 60 to 70 percent accurate in determining impairment. Many factors can influence an individual’s performance on an FST, including uneven pavement, previous injuries, poor lighting, poor weather conditions, inadequate footwear (e.g. high heels or work boots), stress, fatigue, and heightened anxiety.
11. Built-in errors with the chemical testing equipment
There is consensus in the legal community that devices used in measuring blood alcohol level have a margin of error of 0.005 - 0.02%. With this level of inaccuracy, it’s beneficial for a skilled California DUI lawyer to examine the device used in the testing process and to challenge the accuracy of the blood alcohol level. This is especially important in cases in which the results are between 0.08% and 0.10%, because they may be within the margin of error.
12. DUI checkpoints must meet requirements
If you were arrested at a DUI checkpoint, there are several factors that aa skilled lawyer at San Diego DUI Attorney can use in your defense. In California, there are strict requirements and procedures that law enforcement must comply with at a DUI checkpoint. Some of these requirements include, but are not limited to the following:
- Maintaining correct and proper supervision of officers overseeing the checkpoint.
- Ensuring that the officers are following the predetermined strategy as to which cars would be randomly stopped.
- Advertising of the roadblock must have been properly published.
13. Radio frequency can influence false high readings
The presence of certain radio frequencies can produce an interference known as RFI. These frequencies can influence the accuracy of certain machines used in measuring BAC levels, resulting in erroneously high results. The most common devices that may interfere with a BAC reading include, but are not limited to:
- Patrol cars, ambulances, or fire department vehicles
- Cellular phones, iPads, or police and public radios
- Fluorescent lighting
14. You were not driving the vehicle
To convict you of a DUI, the prosecutor must prove that you were operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. This can be difficult to do in many cases, especially if an accident was involved and there were not witnesses. Additionally, if a police officer finds you parked in your car, they cannot automatically prove that you were physically in control of the vehicle. The law firm at San Diego DUI Attorney is especially skilled in handling these types of cases. If the District Attorney or City Attorney cannot prove you were driving the vehicle, they cannot charge you with a DUI.
15. Police misconduct and mistakes
If you can demonstrate or present evidence of police misconduct, your DUI charge may be dismissed regardless whether or not you were driving with a BAC over 0.08%. The process of professional conduct and procedure a law enforcement officer must adhere to is strict in California. Possible situations of misconduct include the following:
- Officers were not in compliance with Title 17 procedures.
- The DUI stop was mishandled and/or reports were not accurate.
- Courtroom testimony and/or statements were not truthful.
If any of these conditions exist or if law enforcement manipulated statements or evidence, charges against you may be suppressed or even dismissed in some cases.
A DUI case involves many complex processes that a skilled attorney can review and use to your advantage. The earlier you discuss your case with one of our attorneys, the more likely you are to remember key facts that could help you achieve a positive outcome.
Contact our office today at 619-535-7170 for a FREE DUI consultation.