On the Defensive
Facing DUI charges can be daunting. But before you think all the odds are stacked against you, know that there are DUI defenses that have been used successfully. In fact, DUI defense almost comes down to a science. Because most DUI cases hinge on the results of the BAC test, you can use science to challenge the evidence against you.
BAC or blood alcohol concentration is frequently measured using a breath sample. The theory being that the alcohol concentration or content in your breath is indicative of the alcohol in your blood. A blood test can be given as an alternative, and urine tests can be used when the other two methods are not possible. Without a BAC level reading, the district attorney would only have the police report and any witness statements to present to the court. You are required to submit to a BAC test if arrested for a DUI in California. Failing to do so will result in a stand-alone punishment of a suspended license, even if you aren't convicted of a DUI.
Though BAC test results are typically enough to convict you, they can be challenged. The procedures for taking and analyzing breath and blood samples are not infallible 100% of the time. Inconsistencies and weaknesses can be found in any point in the process, such as:
- The officer or technician who took the sample was not following proper procedure
- Someone other than a certified phlebotomy technician took the blood sample
- The device or implements used to collect and store the sample were not properly maintained or serviced
- The conditions under which the sample was stored prior to analysis was not in accordance with regulations
- The analysis was inaccurate, for any number of reasons
- The sample produced a false positive
For a BAC test result to be useful in a DUI case, its reliability needs to be ensured. Usually, you would expect someone who is involved in the process of measuring your blood alcohol concentration would adhere to the rules of procedure. This isn't always the case. When measuring chemicals and chemical levels, small discrepancies between regulation and procedure can result in a sample being unreliable. Here just a few of the possible challenges to BAC test results that can be used in DUI cases:
- The defendant was using a legal prescription drug, and the dose was not strong enough to cause impairment while driving
- The defendant's BAC reading was inaccurate because of a gastrointestinal or blood sugar condition which elevates the levels of mouth alcohol
- The defendant was on a certain diet that caused his or her body to produce ketones, and the breathalyzer registered this as alcohol
- The technician used an alcohol-based wipe to disinfect the defendant's skin before drawing blood; the alcohol tainted the results
- The technician did not draw the blood into a sterile container, and the sample was contaminated
- The lab analysis was inaccurate; the defendant had an independent analysis done on the sample, and it came out clean
As you can see, there are many possible ways to challenge a BAC test result from either a breath or a blood sample. If you do opt for a blood draw instead of a breathalyzer test, make sure you have an independent analysis done on the sample. This is a right many DUI defendants don't exercise. And if you provided a breath sample, think about what could have produced a false positive on the test. Many popular diets today cause your body to produce ketones. And some people don't realize that minor GI discomfort could actually be a disorder that elevates the level of alcohol in their mouth.
Finally, speak with an attorney if you have questions about fighting DUI charges. If any of these defenses apply to the circumstances of your arrest, you may want to have an attorney help you with your case. An attorney can evaluate the specific circumstances of your arrest and the way your BAC was measured and identify any points that can be challenged.
If you have questions about fighting DUI charges, call experienced Visalia area DUI defense attorney Christopher Martens today for expert counsel. At The Law Offices of Christopher Martens, we can evaluate your case and help you build a strategic defense to your charges. Attorney Martens has practiced criminal defense for over ten years and knows how to defend your rights. Contact our Visalia or Hanford offices at 559-967-7386 or email us at [email protected] to discuss a possible plan of action for your case.