The penalties for driving under influence (DUI) in West Palm Beach, FL can be severe. If you are charged with DUI and want to fight the charge, you should understand all the defenses that may be available to you. By providing a viable defense, you might help persuade the prosecutor to reduce or drop the charges, prevent the suspension of your driver’s license or even get an acquittal after trial. DUI defenses vary depending on where the arrest was made, but here are some common defenses for DUI in West Palm Beach area:
Improper Stop by Police
The United States Constitution prohibits police officers from arbitrarily stopping private citizens without a reasonable suspicion. In the context of a DUI, if you were obeying traffic laws, not over speeding and did not have a mechanical malfunction with your car, then it is possible to assert that the police didn’t have reasonable suspicion to pull you over, and thus any evidence gathered thereafter is inadmissible.
Failure to Follow the Right Field Sobriety Test (FST) Protocol
In most DUI cases, the law enforcement officer will carry out Field Sobriety Tests before arresting you. Some common Field Sobriety Tests include the horizontal nystagmus (HGN) test, walk and turn test and the one leg stand test. There are various ways to challenge the officer’s testimony about your performance on these tests:
• Do you have physical disabilities like a bad knee or back? Injuries or physical disabilities may affect your ability to perform the test, thus making them inadmissible and unreliable.
• Does the law enforcement officer know what your actual balance and coordination is?
• Is the officer qualified to administer the specific Field Sobriety Test? Some FSTs, such as HGN test can only be performed and testified about by a certified alcohol recognition specialist.
Improper Testing and Storage of Blood Alcohol Samples
First, law enforcement officers must ensure that a blood-alcohol analysis is done quickly by a trained and licensed phlebotomist after the test. Unreasonable wait times or testing by unqualified lab technicians can be a possible defense against the results. Also, the law enforcement officer must make sure that the blood sample is properly maintained after the test to avoid mislabeling, contamination or fermentation. If any questions arise about the integrity of the sample, the prosecution will not rely on it when deciding the case.
Medical Condition as a Defense
Medical conditions, like diets and some popular diets, can form a basis for a successful DUI defense. The body gets its fuel from dietary carbohydrates. Under certain conditions, the body breaks down stored fats for fuel. During the process, the liver produces toxic byproducts, known as ketones. Ketones are similar to isopropyl alcohol present in solvents, such as acetone. Some of these ketones are excreted in the breath. This can result in a falsely high BAC reading on a DUI breath test, and ultimately, an unfair DUI charge.
Other common defenses for DUI in West Palm Beach include Miranda rights violations or improper interrogation, poor communication with the defendant and violations of state rules of civil procedure and evidence. To know what defenses apply best to your case, consider hiring the services of an experienced DUI attorney.