It’s frustrating to be charged with driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol when you know you weren’t actually impaired. More frustrating still, however, is the fact that all the evidence seems to be weighted against you.
Don’t lose heart or hope, because that’s really just what the prosecution wants you to believe. Here’s why “all that evidence” against you may not be worth nearly as much as the authorities would like you to believe:
1. An officer’s perceptions and assumptions can be mistaken.
You wouldn’t be in this situation if the officer hadn’t decided that there was enough reason to believe that you were impaired to probe further after the traffic stop, but people can make mistakes.
For example, maybe the officer claims that they smelled alcohol on your clothing – but you work in a nail salon, so that’s normal. Or, maybe your eyes were glassy – but you have terrible allergies and hadn’t taken your medication. Those are reasonable alternative explanations for what the officer detected.
2. Breath alcohol content (BAC) testing is prone to errors.
You’re required to submit to breath alcohol content testing if requested under the state’s implied consent laws, but that doesn’t mean that you should necessarily believe the numbers on the reading.
Studies have shown that the accuracy of these devices can be affected by the type of machine used, its software, its calibration, any foreign substances that get into the machine, environmental factors and plain human error. Even the timing of the test can affect your reading, so these can always be challenged.
3. Field sobriety testing is arguably junk science.
Maybe you submitted to standardized field sobriety testing, like the horizontal gaze nystagmus test or the one-legged stand test, and failed. If you’re surprised, don’t be: Those tests are only, at best, 77% accurate when performed under the best of conditions by the best-trained officers. They rely very much on subjective assessments, and that makes them deeply flawed.
In other words: No matter what the prosecution or police may say, you may have defenses available. Don’t take a plea agreement without fully exploring your options.