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The Top 5 Ways to Mount a Strong DUI Defense

The Top 5 Ways to Mount a Strong DUI Defense

Facing a DUI (Driving Under the Influence) charge can be a distressing and overwhelming experience. The consequences of a conviction can be severe, including license suspension, hefty fines, increased insurance rates, and even potential jail time. However, it's important to remember that being charged with a DUI does not automatically mean a conviction. With a solid defense strategy, it is possible to challenge the charges and protect your rights. In this blog post, we will explore the top five ways to fight against a DUI conviction.

Challenging the Traffic Stop:

The first step in building a strong DUI defense is to examine the legality of the traffic stop. Law enforcement must have reasonable suspicion or probable cause to pull you over. If it can be proven that the traffic stop was unjustified, any evidence obtained afterward may be deemed inadmissible. We will scrutinize the circumstances leading to the stop, including the officer's observations, equipment calibration, and adherence to proper procedure. Any deviations or violations can significantly weaken the prosecution's case.

Disputing Field Sobriety Tests:

Field sobriety tests (FSTs) are commonly used by law enforcement to gather evidence of impairment during a traffic stop. However, these tests are subjective and can be influenced by factors unrelated to intoxication, such as physical conditions, nervousness, or poor weather conditions. Experienced DUI defense attorneys are well-versed in the weaknesses of FSTs and can challenge their accuracy and reliability. They may question the officer's training, the testing environment, or even the interpretation of the results, ultimately weakening the prosecution's case against you.

James R. Snell, Jr., is trained in police field sobriety techniques, and in 2022 became qualified as a NHTSA DUI Detection & Field Sobriety Testing Instructor. 

Contesting Breathalyzer and Blood Tests:

Breathalyzer and blood tests are considered scientific evidence in DUI cases. However, these tests are not infallible and can produce inaccurate results due to various factors. We will examine the circumstances surrounding the administration of these tests, including the calibration and maintenance of the testing equipment, the qualifications of the testing personnel, and the handling and storage of the samples. Any errors or mishandling can be used to cast doubt on the accuracy of the test results and challenge their admissibility in court. Urine tests also have the same shortcomings, combined with the fact that they don't indicate when or how much of any substance was ingested. 

Proving Rising Blood Alcohol Content (BAC):

A rising blood alcohol content defense argues that your BAC was below the legal limit at the time of driving but increased afterward, pushing it above the legal limit when tested. This defense relies on the fact that alcohol takes time to absorb into the bloodstream, and your BAC may continue to rise even after you have stopped driving. We can present evidence, such as witness testimony or expert opinions, to demonstrate that your BAC was still within legal limits while operating the vehicle, casting doubt on the prosecution's case.

Challenging the Officer's Observations:

In a DUI case, an officer's observations play a crucial role in establishing probable cause for arrest. However, officers are human and can make mistakes or misinterpret certain behaviors as signs of impairment. We will thoroughly scrutinize the officer's testimony, searching for inconsistencies or bias that may undermine their credibility. We are familiar with the methods officers are trained in to make and document observations in DUI cases. This training comes from the NHTSA DUI Detection & Field Sobriety Testing curriculum: specifically in Phase One "Vehicle in Motion" and Phase Two "Personal Contact." 

Challenging the Officer's Arrest Procedures (Bonus):

Since you've made it this far, I want to include a special bonus #6 way to mount a strong DUI defense. In South Carolina, DUI is the only criminal charge with technical defenses. This means that it's the only charge that police have certain procedures they're required to follow when conducting the investigation or are making an arrest. Because of a legal case handled by our attorney 10+ years ago, it's now law in South Carolina that inexcusable violations of these requirements can result in the dismissal of a DUI, regardless of other circumstances. 


While a DUI charge can be intimidating, it is important to remember that you have the right to a strong defense. By challenging the legality of the traffic stop, disputing field sobriety tests and chemical tests, presenting a rising blood alcohol content defense, and contesting the officer's observations, you can significantly strengthen your position and increase the chances of a favorable outcome. Consulting an experienced DUI defense lawyer is crucial to build a robust defense tailored to your specific circumstances. Remember, an accusation is not a conviction, and with the right defense strategy, you can protect your rights and move forward with your life.


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