An unyielding myth about drunk driving offenses is that the person who is accused of the crime will be found guilty. This is an obvious myth because everyone has the right to due process and a fair trial, in addition to the presumed innocence of an accused person. However, it is a pervasive sentiment that many people share, whether it be due to convenient preconceived notions or because it sounds plausible on the surface.
But in reality, people accused of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol have some viable defense strategies that they can utilize to defend themselves when criminal charges are filed against them. What are some of these strategies? Let’s discuss a few of them:
Affirmative defenses. These are things that cover circumstances such as driving drunk out of necessity (to prevent or help in an emergency, for example) or driving drunk under threat of violence or harm. You can also become involuntarily intoxicated (such as if someone spikes your drink without your knowledge).
Improper actions by the police. This can range from police officers failing to have probable cause to pull you over, to failing to maintain and calibrate their Breathalyzer. The police could also obstruct or violate your rights during a stop.
Violation of chain of custody. The evidence gathered in a DUI case has to be properly maintained and transferred from department to department. If the chain of custody for this evidence is violated, it can call into question the validity of the evidence.
Source: FindLaw, “Defenses to Drunk Driving,” Accessed Sept. 14, 2017