An attorney for the Commonwealth of Virginia prosecutes a DUI case. The burden of proof is on the prosecutor to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Various circumstances can lead to a dismissed DUI case, such as invalid chemical test results, violating the defendant’s Constitutional rights, or illegally obtained evidence.
Pursuing a dismissal requires a strategically prepared defense. A defense lawyer can file a motion to suppress specific evidence so the prosecutor can’t present that evidence in court. When there isn’t sufficient evidence to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, proceeding with a trial might not be possible. The judge’s only option is to drop the DUI charge and dismiss the entire case.
Below are the most common defenses to get a DUI dismissed in Virginia.
Prove Law Enforcement Conducted an Illegal Search and Seizure
The Fourth Amendment protects citizens against unreasonable searches and seizures. That means the police must follow specific procedures for searching a person, home, and vehicle and removing the evidence.
If an officer pulls someone over, they can look in the immediate area for evidence of a crime. However, they can’t perform a thorough search without a valid warrant. If they violate a person’s Fourth Amendment rights, the defense attorney can file a motion to suppress evidence to prevent the prosecutor from showing it to the jury.
Establishing an Unlawful Traffic Stop
Law enforcement can perform a traffic stop if they have reasonable suspicion of a crime. However, arresting someone for DUI doesn’t necessarily mean the officer had a reasonable suspicion of the driver’s intoxication.
Many times, the police pull people over for other reasons, such as having a broken taillight or running a stop sign, and discover the driver might be under the influence. You might get your DUI case dismissed if you can prove the arresting officer didn’t have reasonable suspicion to pull you over in the first place.
Arguing Against the Accuracy of Blood or Breath Test Results
Law enforcement can determine whether a driver is intoxicated by administering a breath or blood test. Officers must use and maintain the devices adequately for them to function correctly. The results might be inaccurate if the officer mishandles the device.
When law enforcement administers a blood test, they must collect, analyze, and store the samples properly. If the sample is contaminated or mislabeled, it might show alcohol in the blood, even if the person didn’t consume any before driving.
Breath tests determine a person’s intoxication level by measuring their blood alcohol concentration (BAC). Someone’s results can show a (BAC) slightly higher than what it is if the device malfunctions. An increased BAC by even 0.01 percent can mean the difference between passing and failing the test.
Challenging the Validity of a Field Sobriety Test
Law enforcement can conduct three standardized field sobriety tests (SFSTs). They allow officers to determine whether a driver is under the influence. However, the results are subjective.
SFST tests require the police to use their judgment to determine if someone has alcohol in their system. Their judgment or opinion might be incorrect and lead to an unfair arrest. Just because an officer believes a driver is intoxicated doesn’t mean they are.
Proving a Medical Condition Contributes to Signs of Impairment
Some medical conditions cause symptoms similar to intoxication. An officer might misinterpret someone’s behavior or appearance as a sign of impairment. However, various illnesses and ailments can lead to symptoms such as:
- Bloodshot eyes
- Slurred speech
- Difficulty concentrating or following directions
- Poor balance
Arrested for DUI? Contact Us Now
At Pincus Goodman, P.C., our experienced defense attorneys in Virginia Beach, VA, provide aggressive representation to our clients. We will review the charge against you and create a strategy to try to get your case dismissed or the charge reduced. You can depend on us to fight for your rights and future.
If you were arrested or charged with DUI, call (757) 301-9634 or contact us online today for a confidential consultation to learn more about how we can help.