Defending Your DUI Charge
If you are charged with driving under the influence (DUI), you probably have many questions about what you can do to defend yourself. Many people assume there is not much they can do to defend themselves against a DUI charge. You do have defenses available to you, however. The most important step you can take is finding the right lawyer to vigorously defend your case.
My name is M. Darin Vance, Attorney at Law, and I have been assisting clients with Mississippi DUI cases for over 20 years. I understand how to create an effective defense that will help you protect your future and move forward.
The Police Must Follow Procedure
When the police pull someone over for suspected DUI, they must follow certain regulations and procedures, including:
- Reasonable cause — They need to have reasonable cause to suspect you are breaking the law to make a stop.
- Miranda rights — They must read you your Miranda rights upon arrest.
- Your right to information — The officers also must inform you of your other rights and the consequences of certain actions, such as refusing the breath test.
You Can Fight Your Test Results
During your stop, the police will generally apply a couple of tests to determine if you are intoxicated: the breath test and the field sobriety test. Police usually only use blood tests in certain cases, such as when they suspect drug use rather than drunk driving. If your breath test results in a blood alcohol content of .08 percent or higher, the police will arrest you. The threshold is lower for CDL drivers (.04) and drivers under the ages of 21 (.02). They may then have you perform a field sobriety test.
Many people assume these test results are indisputable, and without a legal defense, courts will accept them as evidence of your guilt. The tests are not perfect, however, and unless the police officer administers the test properly, false readings can occur. I understand the problems these tests can have, and I will attack the validity of your test results. Possible arguments include:
- Breathalyzer training — Officers must have the proper training to administer the test.
- Machine calibration — The machine may have false readings if not properly calibrated.
- Challenging the officer’s observations — People can have bloodshot eyes or wobbly balance for many reasons other than intoxication. You may provide other explanations for your appearance or provide witnesses to combat the officer’s observations.
Some clients ask if they are better off refusing to take the breath test. You do have that right, but it comes with certain automatic penalties. Discuss your rights and options with me to determine the best course of action for your situation. I can also help if you are accused of causing an accident or hit-and-run.