How To Avoid A DUI Charge For Alcohol Or Drugs In Court

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Driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs is one of the most common criminal offenses that bear severe consequences. When fighting a DUI charge, it’s best to examine the arrest details as soon as possible to explore defense options that could either prevent or lessen the implied ramifications. 

Without taking proper action to fight and beat the charges before a conviction, a DUI offense in, for instance, California can be subject to significant fines, a restricted driver’s license, sanctioned treatment, and even jail time. 

Luckily, having the right attorney can significantly impact the outcome of your case, and it’s best to hire a professional who has experience with local law enforcement and legal processes. So, for instance, if you are facing a DUI offense in Riverside, CA, you should contact a Riverside DUI law firm that can help you navigate through the process. Below we have listed some of the possible defenses that your attorney can use to get your charges reduced or dismissed. 

No Probable Cause For The Stop 

For a police officer to stop your vehicle, they must have probable cause to do so. Grounds for probable cause include: 

• Speeding 
• Driving past a stop sign 
• Lane straddling 

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If an officer does not satisfy the requirements for probable cause before detaining or arresting you for DUI, any evidence obtained in this illegal procedure will be suppressed. If the evidence - including blood/breath tests, sobriety tests, or anything you say to the officer - is suppressed, the prosecution has no right to use it against you. The absence of probable cause for the stop usually results in the reduction or dismissal of the charges. 

No Evidence You Were The Driver 

If a traffic accident occurs and there are no eyewitnesses, an officer might arrive to see people standing outside a vehicle. In such cases, the officer must ascertain who the driver was, regardless of whether they observe signs of intoxication. 

If there are no statements or indicators as to who the driver of the vehicle was, there might not be probable cause to arrest any of the people around that vehicle. This type of situation is known as a “no driving” defense. 

You should note that even if there was no one behind the wheel, there might be evidence to suggest that one person is likely the driver. Such evidence includes: 

• The adjustment or position of the seat 

• The registered owner of the vehicle. 

The evidence is reviewed on a case-by-case basis, so probable cause is determined based on the totality of the circumstances. 

No Movement Of The Vehicle 

In certain states like California, the officer needs to observe the vehicle moving before having the authority to stop, question, or arrest you for a DUI offense. 

This kind of defense only applies if you can undoubtedly prove that you did not control the vehicle. Even if you are found asleep in your vehicle, but happen to be miles away from a town or are in the middle of the intersection, the officer can reasonably assume that you drove to that location.

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The officer will undoubtedly ask if you were driving before they made the stop, and in certain cases, individuals will admit to the offense. Other indirect or circumstantial evidence that you may have driven include: 

• A warm or running engine 
• Gear in drive 
• A damaged vehicle (in case of an accident) 
• There is no alternative driver 

No Evidence That You Were Under The Influence 

The most viable defense to make in a DUI charge is that the prosecution has insufficient evidence to prove that you were under the influence while driving. 

If an officer observes symptoms of drinking or drug use, they may ask you to take a series of field sobriety tests to examine your coordination and balance, such as a 'walk and turn', or 'stand on one foot' test to determine if you were operating under the influence (OUI) of alcohol or drugs. 

Although many people are not aware of it, you are under no obligation to take sobriety tests. If you have already done it, there are ways to argue the observed results. The field sobriety tests can be challenged on the basis of the person’s physical condition, the weather, the terrain where the tests were conducted, the anxiety or stress of the person, and their level of fatigue. 

Final Words On Avoiding OUI Charges

Driving under the influence is a punishable offense that should not be taken lightly. Understanding the prosecution’s case and the possible defenses of OUI are essential for knowing your options before fighting the charges. 

It is always best to have the evidence and possible defense options reviewed by a DUI attorney who can help you fight the allegations.

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