In Texas and the rest of the country, a DUI is a serious offense. In fact, in 49 out of the 50 states (Wisconsin being the outlier), a first-time DUI is a criminal offense that has the potential to land you in jail and with a criminal record that can affect your personal and professional life for years. If you are facing DUI charges, it’s important to understand that there may be defenses that you can raise that may result in your case being dropped or dismissed or an acquittal at trial. Some of the best DUI defenses in Texas are detailed below. To learn whether any of them apply in your case, you should contact a San Antonio DUI defense lawyer as soon as you can.
Lack of Reasonable Suspicion for a Traffic Stop
In the United States, we are protected from unreasonable searches and seizures by the 4th Amendment of the Constitution. This law limits what police offices can do in certain situations. A traffic stop is a “seizure” within the meaning of the 4th Amendment, and police may only stop you when you are driving if they have reasonable suspicion that you currently or recently have committed a crime. In other words, they can’t just pull you over because you were leaving a bar, it was late, you are young, or you are driving an older car.
If they stop without reasonable suspicion, any evidence they gathered during the stop can likely be excluded from evidence, which means the prosecution will likely be forced to drop the case.
Unreliability of Chemical Testing
Many DUI cases in Texas hinge on the chemical testing of a person’s blood, breath, or urine. In order for these tests to be accurate, however, strict testing procedures must be followed. For example, breathalyzer devices must be calibrated, and blood samples must be stored under certain conditions. If these procedures are not followed, it may be possible to exclude the results of any testing that the police performed or call the reliability of the results into question.
Alternative Explanations for Signs of Intoxication
Many signs of drug or alcohol intoxication that officers are trained to look for can be caused by medical conditions that have nothing to do with drinking or drug use. For example, people who have sustained TBIs often have slurred speech, allergies can cause bloodshot and glassy eyes, and fatigue can cause disorientation or confusion. In fact, diabetes can cause a condition that causes the breath to smell similarly to the way it does after a person has been drinking. If you have a medical condition that can cause symptoms that mimic those caused by alcohol or drug intoxication, it may be sufficient to cast reasonable doubt on the state’s claim that you were drunk or high while you were driving.
Diversionary Programs and Plea Bargains
Texas, like many states, offers first-time DUI offenders the option of participating in a diversionary program that, if completed successfully, allows defendants to avoid a conviction. Acceptance into these programs is up to the discretion of the court, however, so you should retain an attorney if you are seeking to participate. In addition, you may also pursue a plea bargain, which can result in reduced charges and penalties in exchange for a guilty plea.
Never Assume that Your Case is Hopeless
Many people who have recently been arrested for drunk or drugged driving feel like there is nothing they can do to avoid a conviction. In many cases, people facing DUI charges were drinking before they got in the car and may even think that they were likely over the legal limit. In addition, even if your case is a close one, the police will make you feel like a criminal and that you were caught red-handed. It’s critical to understand that this is intentional – from the minute the police suspect that you are drunk, everything that happens is intended to gather evidence against you and get you to plead guilty. Do you think that prosecutors want to take every case to trial? Of course not.
For this reason, do not fall into the trap of thinking that your case is hopeless and that your only option is to plead guilty. Many DUI defenses have nothing to do with whether you were intoxicated while you were driving, but rather focus on the conduct of the police during your traffic stop and immediately after. In addition, breathalyzer evidence and field sobriety testing are not infallible, and an experienced lawyer may be able to establish reasonable doubt as to whether you were drunk at the time you were pulled over. The point is this; you should always discuss your case with an experienced DUI defense lawyer in San Antonio, such as Trey Porter Law after an arrest.
Do You Need a Lawyer to Raise a DUI Defense?
If you have been arrested for DUI and think that these or other defenses may apply in your case, you may also be wondering whether you need to retain an attorney to represent you. As a criminal defendant, it’s important to recognize that your future is on the line and that the legal system is extremely complicated and difficult for non-lawyers to navigate. Even if you think that your defense is as plain as day, you need to know how and when to raise it to the court. For this reason, if you are planning on asserting a DUI defense, it’s highly advisable that you retain an experienced San Antonio DUI defense lawyer to represent you.