If you have been arrested on suspicions of DUI in Boise, Idaho, it is not the end of the line. A lot hinges on the defenses used to answer the charge. Not all DUI charges are fair and many can be subsequently overturned with the help of a good DUI attorney. This is simply because the law requires that every DUI arrest made by the officers must observe a strict set of rules. If these rules are not properly followed at the time of the arrest, a court may order all subsequent evidence to be suppressed.
This is why DUI defenses used often rest on the procedures of the arrest. However, there are other defenses that can also be used if you have been charged with DUI. Here is a look at some of the common defenses that are typically used in a DUI case.
This is the first step in a DUI arrest. As per the directions of the Supreme Court, you can’t be flagged and stopped by a police officer for a DUI check unless reasonable suspicion of illegal conduct exists. The term ‘reasonable suspicion’ is fairly broad in the scope of its interpretation.
Many times, an officer performs what is legally known as a pre-textual stop. This is when an officer feels or knows through some means that you may be drunk but does not have sufficient premise to make a legal stop. If it can be shown that you were stopped without the existence of reasonable suspicion, the stop itself can be deemed illegal in a court of law. As a result, all subsequent DUI investigations, proof, arrest and indictment are then likely to be discarded.
Indicators of Intoxication
A law officer can’t question or check you for DUI even after you are stopped after reasonable suspicion. The officer must see multiple indicators that hint that the driver is drunk. Only then can the officer start investigating the possibility of DUI.
One of the most common indicators is your driving pattern. An officer may argue that you were driving erratically and crossed the center median several times. However, this indicator can be debated in many cases.
In a recent case, the Idaho Supreme Court ruled that the fog line on the side of the road is part of the lane. So an officer who based his DUI stop on the fact that the driver drove twice on the fog line was held in error. All later evidence was subsequently suppressed by the court.
Other indicators that are often used as a premise for a DUI check include smell of alcohol, slurred speech, and watery eyes. Even these indicators are open to human error and may help the defenses used. The smell of alcohol that an officer detects may simply be the scent of something else. Similarly, you may panic when stopped by the officer and speak incoherently as a result. This doesn’t make slurred speech a valid indicator. Finally, red or watery eyes can be caused by a whole lot of things other than alcohol.
A good attorney will cross-examine any indicators cited by the law officers as sufficient premise for a DUI stop and check. In many cases, the indicators and the surrounding testimony may not stand up to such cross-examination. If that happens, there’s a good chance that your DUI charge is dropped.
Field Sobriety Tests
Three standard field sobriety tests are used by the law officers to determine whether you are drunk or not. These include the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus, the Walk-and-Turn, and the One-Leg Stand. Even when sober, different people may perform differently at these tests depending on their age, medical conditions, eyesight, footwear, injuries and other factors. This is also one of the valid defenses used by skilled lawyers.
Based on your performance at these tests, an officer may conclude that you are drunk. However, your performance may simply be affected by the factors listed above. Your attorney can, for instance, argue that you couldn’t perform the one-leg stand simply because of a medical condition affecting the leg or improper footwear. Similarly, effective defenses can be brought even if you fail at other field sobriety tests.
Hiring an Experienced Felony DUI Attorney
A felony DUI is a serious charge that goes on your record and can result in penalties ranging from prison time to hefty fines. This is why it is definitely worth it to try and fight the charge, especially when you think that it has been unfairly brought against you. The defenses used by the best lawyers should help you deal with the charge easily. Here at Aaron Hooper, Attorney at Law, we handle felony DUI cases. Our attorneys are highly experienced and well-versed in the common defenses that can be used in such a case. Give us a call today to discuss the unique circumstances of your case and let’s see how we can best defend you.