No driver ever wants to see those blue lights flashing in their rearview mirror, but if you know you had a drink or two before driving, you may be particularly frightened—and for good reason. Driving under the influence carries serious penalties in Florida and—whether you feel drunk or not—if you were drinking, you could be over the legal limit to drive. But just because you were caught doesn’t mean you can’t defend yourself against the charge.
Possible DUI Defenses
Although you may feel like you’ve been caught red-handed, it may still be worth fighting your DUI charge. While it is against the law to drive with a blood alcohol content of .08 percent or higher, it is also illegal for police to violate your rights when they stop, test, and arrest you. Some possible defenses against a DUI charge include the following:
- Illegal traffic stop. You can only be pulled over by police if you have broken the law, such as by speeding or driving recklessly. You cannot be pulled over just because the police saw you leave a bar, for example. An exception to this law is for random sobriety checkpoints. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1990 that DUI checkpoints are legal.
- Botched sobriety tests. If a sobriety test, such as a heel-toe test or a breathalyzer, is improperly administered, the results can be thrown out. If a blood sample is not taken by a licensed technician or the sample is not properly handled or stored, that test could be inadmissible.
- Miranda violations. You must be informed of your rights when you are arrested for a DUI, just like for other crimes. If an officer fails to issue the proper Miranda warning, the arrest could be overturned in court.
- Medical conditions or medication. Certain medications—or even common household mouthwash—could register on a breathalyzer as alcohol. Fatigue or neurological disorders could cause a person to fail a field sobriety test. A police officer at the scene may not believe you if you protest, but a DUI attorney can present this evidence later in court.
Depending on the circumstances surrounding your arrest, there may be other defenses against your DUI charge.
Always Consult an Attorney
There is too much at stake to give up when you are arrested for DUI. A DUI conviction can have serious repercussions, including losing your license, losing your auto insurance, and even losing your job. Call the Clifton Law Office as soon as possible to discuss possible defenses in your Jacksonville DUI case.