Many people who are accused of driving under the influence choose to plead guilty to the charges. The reason for this is that they are unaware of the fact that there are ways to challenge the evidence which the authorities believe they have against you. The testing methods used by law enforcement may not be as accurate as you believe them to be. In fact, one of the most common OUI defense methods is to argue that the evidence against you is not accurate.
For most OUI cases, the chief evidence of intoxication is the results of the sobriety tests. Each type of test has its own flaws that can often be exposed to question validity. This method is especially useful in cases where a BAC is only slightly above the legal limit. For example, if your BAC was .10% , a test would only need to be off by a tiny bit to make your results qualify you for OUI.
There are 2 types of sobriety tests that police use to check for impairment. The first type is chemical sobriety tests. They check the body for blood alcohol content (BAC). If your BAC is over the legal limit of .08%, you will be charged with DUI. These tests can be done by checking either your blood or breath. The second type of test is a field sobriety test. These tests are designed to check your motor functions for impairment. For any sobriety test, errors can be made during the performance or interpretation.
Blood Tests Overall, one of the more accurate ways to detect the presence of alcohol in the body is through analyzing the blood in a blood test. A blood alcohol test determines the percentage of ethanol in the body by extracting a sample of blood from the body and then sending it to a lab to be analyzed. However, unlike a breath test, this cannot be done at the scene of the arrest. As alcohol takes an hour to reach its fullest effect in the body, you could have been below the legal drinking limit while driving, but in the time it took to administer the test, the percentage increased. Other defenses can arise if the sample was not labeled or preserved properly.
Breath Tests Another common way of testing for alcohol consumption is through analyzing the breath of the driver. These devices are used as a way for police to judge right away if a driver has been drinking. Known as a breathalyzer device, when the driver breathes into this apparatus, it gives a reading of the amount of alcohol in the body. Although helpful, these devices are far from accurate. If the law enforcement officer did not administer the test accurately, the wrong reading may be given. Another common error is a mistake in the calibration of the device. Also, the sensors could pick up on other compounds besides alcohol and could cause the reading to be wrong.
Field Sobriety Tests When a law enforcement officer suspects that a driver is under the influence of alcohol or drugs, they may request that the driver perform a field sobriety test. The three main standardized field sobriety tests are: HGN testing, the walk and turn, and the one leg stand. The HGN (horizontal gaze nystagmus) test examines the naturally-occurring jerking in the eyes in order to see if it is exaggerated. The walk and turn test require s that the driver walk in a straight line while counting out loud. Lastly, the one leg stand requires that they balance with one foot six inches from the ground while counting out loud. However, in all of these tests, there is plenty of room for error. If the police officer did not give instructions clearly or the driver failed the test for another reason, they should not be convicted of DUI.
It is important to remember that it may be best to refuse to be tested for alcohol or drug use at all. Even though you may face specific penalties for your refusal, it is easier to defend DUI charges when there is no hard evidence against you. However, if you have failed chemical testing or a field sobriety test, by thoroughly examining and challenging all the evidence against you, our team could help you get your charges completely dropped.
Our DUI defense lawyers are highly experienced in fighting DUI charges. Attorney William Bly is certified as a breath alcohol technician and as an instructor of field sobriety testing. Using this knowledge he is able to examine clients’ cases and look for mistakes that could have been made. It is rare for a non-law enforcement professional to have these kinds of certifications and is yet another reason why our criminal defense firm is one of the best in Maine.
If you have been charged with a DUI in Maine, our defense attorneys can help you fight the charges. Call us now!
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