Most people that open up the newspaper and read about a drunk driving story will have an instinctual reaction to it: that driver must be guilty. This is in part because the way drunk driving is portrayed (we are conditioned to think all drunk drivers are bad people acting poorly, when this isn’t always the case) and in part because of the assumption that there are no viable ways for the person accused of driving under the influence to defend himself or herself.
But this isn’t correct. Many people accused of a DUI are able to defend themselves against the charge. How do they do it? Let’s review some common questions regarding this topic:
What is an affirmative defense? These defenses relate to specific circumstances to your DUI. For example, if you were forced to drive drunk to save someone who was suffering a medical emergency, you could use the “necessity” defense. If you were forced to drive drunk under threat of violence, you could use the “duress” defense.
What about the role of the police officer? This is a huge part of any DUI case. The police officer that initiated that traffic stop that led to the DUI could have made a mistake or violated your rights in a number of ways (no Miranda warning, no probable cause, failure to properly give a breath test, failure to properly manage evidence).
Can blood test evidence be dismissed? If the chain of custody related to obtaining, storing, and testing blood evidence in a DUI chase is interrupted or there is a failure in this process that violates protocol, then the evidence could be thrown out.