DUI charges are very common, but that doesn’t mean they are charges to take lightly. In fact, DUI charges in South Carolina can result in surprisingly severe punishment, even for first-time offenders. If you face DUI charges, dealing with them fully should make the top of your list of priorities.
This can prove quite challenging, depending on the nature of the evidence that the prosecution has against you. In many cases, the charges arise after a driver fails a Breathalyzer test, which can seem like an infallible piece of evidence to overcome. While it is true that Breathalyzers do carry great weight in the courts, they are by no means flawless measurement devices.
As you build your defense, be sure to consider all the legal options you have, possibly including a challenge to the validity of your Breathalyzer results. A well-constructed defense may get your charges dismissed or reduce the punishment you face in the event of a conviction, along with protecting your rights during the adjudication process.
Poorly maintained devices produce unreliable results
In order for a Breathalyzer device to deliver accurate readings of an individual’s blood alcohol content (BAC), it must regularly be calibrated and maintained. The officer who administers the test must also use the device correctly. If the device is not calibrated, maintained and operated correctly, the results it produces may not hold up to scrutiny.
Consider the circumstances of your own charges. If any part of your interaction with the officer who administered the test — or if the test itself — seems questionable, it is wise to carefully examine these aspects of the arrest as you build your defense. An uncalibrated Breathalyzer may skew results significantly, especially when criminal charges hang on hundredths of a percentage point.
If your charges resulted from very slightly exceeding or meeting the allowed BAC for driving, you may even have an opportunity to challenge the reliability of Breathalyzers as a whole. Even when they receive proper care, they are not infallible devices. In rare instances, defendants have succeeded in challenging their charges based on this small margin of error.
Consider the conduct of the officer who arrested you
Let’s assume for a moment that your Breathalyzer results do not present any clear opportunities for a challenge. You can also examine the behavior of the officer who arrested you.
Police officers have an obligation to uphold the law, but this does not give them license to break the law in order to do so. If your arresting officer did not obey proper protocols during your stop, or if the officer violated your rights at any point, you may have an opportunity to challenge the charges based on these violations.
You may choose any number of grounds to build your defense, and not all defenses are equally effective. It is absolutely essential that you begin building your defense as soon as you can to ensure that you have as many opportunities to keep your rights and privileges secure as possible. Your prosecutor is already building a case against you, so be sure that you don’t get too far behind as you fight to protect your freedom.