Is it Possible to Beat a DUI?


Flickr user: Francisco Javier Martín

In short, the way to ‘beat’ a DUI is to discredit the evidence. There are many ways to discredit the DUI case brought against you, and a qualified DUI attorney will know the most effective ways to try to get you out of a DUI.

A prosecution attorney will try to prove DUI in one of two ways. One way is to attack the driver’s mental and physical condition by presenting evidence that shows the driver was impaired because of alcohol consumption. The second way is by concentrating on the driver’s blood-alcohol content and not focusing on the driver’s physical or mental condition. However, it is possible the prosecutor will use both ways in the same case.

DUI cases basically center on four kinds of evidence: the physical appearance of the driver, the driving pattern, the results of a chemical test, and the results of a field sobriety test. All of them are subject to debate in a variety of ways, and this is where beating a DUI case happens.

Starting with the driving pattern—if the defendant pulled over promptly, used his turn signal and parked safely, it could be well argued that the driving pattern did not indicate any impairment.

Also open to debate, the field sobriety test is not always open and closed evidence. A defense attorney might argue that the defendant shouldn’t have to take a test outside with distractions like traffic rushing by but rather he/she should get to take tests in a quiet room, or that getting 10% of the answers wrong shouldn’t necessarily result in a failing grade.

Then there is the argument about mental impairment being evidence of physical impairment. Experts on both sides agree that when alcohol is consumed, mental impairment is evidenced before physical impairment becomes evident. The prosecution may prove physical impairment, but if a defense attorney can discredit the presence of mental impairment, he may rightfully assert that the alleged physical impairment was the result not of alcohol but of something else, like injury or fatigue.

A defense attorney can also beat a DUI by attacking the blood sample. Among other errors, if too much time elapses between the blood being drawn and being measured, it can result in an artificially increased blood-alcohol content (BAC) reading. This is because blood can ferment, thus increasing the amount of alcohol in the sample, thus wrongly raising the BAC.

There are more then 5 Ways to Beat a DUI, but here a few to keep in mind…

  1. STANDARD FIELD SOBRIETY TESTING IS INACCURATE – in healthy individuals, the one-leg stand test is only 65% accurate, and the walk-and-turn test is only 68% accurate in determining if a person is under the influence. Those persons with injuries, medical conditions, 50 pounds or greater overweight, and 65 years or older cannot be validly judged by these tests.
  2. NON-STANDARDIZED FIELD TESTS ARE INVALID – neither the Federal Government (NHTSA) nor medical science considers touching your finger to your nose, or saying the alphabet, or counting backwards, as valid sobriety tests.
  3. BREATH TESTING IS INACCURATE – virtually all experts concede that one breath test alone is unreliable. Breath testing is subject to various inaccuracies, including a variance as much s +/- 12.5%, non-specificity for ethanol, etc.
  4. BREATHALYZER MACHINE MALFUNCTIONS – Most states specify that if there is a malfunction or repair of the breath test instrument within a certain period of time before or after a suspect’s breath test, the results of the suspect’s test are presumed invalid.
  5. INTERFERING SUBSTANCES – Many items contain forms of alcohol, which may cause false results, such as asthma spray, cough drops, paints, fingernail polish. These items can cause the breath results to be invalid.

This post was intended to provide general information only and is not intended as specific legal advice. You should not rely upon this information alone, but should consult legal counsel regarding the application of the laws and regulations discussed and as applied to your specific case or circumstance.