Successful DUI defense has at least five components.
First, you want to examine what are the reasons given, if any, by law enforcement for stopping/
contacting you initially. The reason or reasons must be both factually accurate and legally correct.
Factually accurate means: if police claim to have pulled you over because of a defective tail light
that in fact was working, then you have a basis for attacking the initial contact. You should consider
filing a motion to suppress the evidence, because the police conduct violated your United States
Constitutionally guaranteed Fourth Amendment Rights. Similarly, police must have a legally correct
reason to stop a person.
In addition, if police claim that they observed any “bad” driving, you should refute such assertions. For
example, let’s imagine that the officer said that he/she witnessed your car move from side to side within
its lane and then cross over the lane markers and in fact, it did. However, if the reason for your car’s
movement is mechanical, i.e. alignment problems, you should have such an explanation ready, along
with any proof (document post DUI arrest showing repairs made by mechanic).
Second, once police initial contact with you, they will observe you. In their reports, they will describe
how you appear, speak, behave and walk in their presence. They will write a report that singles out
anything in their training that suggests that you were appreciably impaired to the point of being unable
to operate safely a motor vehicle. These characteristics of impairment are called “symptoms,” that
commonly incur red and watery eyes, an odor of an alcoholic beverage from you, slurred/slow speech,
clumsy/disoriented reactions and difficulty in walking. You must refute any such descriptions and show
that if such “symptoms” were present, they were caused by something other than alcohol. For example,
if your eyes were red, the redness was due to the lateness of the hour/time of the stop or to contact
lens, and not to alcohol.
Third, police will inevitably attempt to have you perform the so called “field sobriety tests.” These
tests are typically designed to show that you are unable to perform tasks involving “divided attention”.
“Divided attention” simply means being able to do several things at once (also called “multi tasking”
in the business world). If you learn that police claim that you were unable to perform successfully any
of the tests you did, you should step by step refute such claims. For example, if at the roadside as you
were performing the walk and turn test, the officer blurted out for you that you had slowed down and
that you should not slow down as you perform the walking/turning portion of the test, you should
write this down. “Slowing down” during that test is permissible; the officer would be wrong to use this
Fourth, police will quiz you about your consumption of alcohol. Did they “read you your rights” before
asking you such incriminating questions? If you were under arrest and then interrogated about your
DUI, police must first advise you that you have a right to remain silent, that anything that you say can
and will be used against you in a court of law, and that you have the right to an attorney.
Lastly, as presented elsewhere in this web site, you can attack the chemical tests (blood and/or breath
tests) to which you submitted.
As you see, there are many factors to review, analyze and consider the preparation of your DUI defense.
Once you have a DUI arrest, you should immediately contact the office of DUI attorney Mark Blair for a
free, confidential and informative consultation. Mark can be reached at (510) 845-4343.