People facing criminal charges related to impaired driving may feel a profound sense of fear or hopelessness. That negative feeling stems from how quick the court of public opinion is to convict those accused of crimes. For some reason, this is particularly true for those accused of impaired driving offenses.
Even the most reasonable person who would give any one arrested the benefit of the doubt will remain skeptical about those accused of impaired driving who maintain their own innocence. Most people seem to believe that breath tests used to test for chemical impairment are essentially infallible. Since people know that law enforcement administer chemical testing, they might assume that anyone with a failed test is immediately guilty.
You yourself may wonder how you could possibly push back against pending charges with a failed breath test. However, there are several legal strategies that can help those facing impaired driving charges. Questioning the validity of evidence is one such tactic.
Law enforcement needs to maintain a careful chain of custody
Handling evidence can sometimes compromise the evidence. If someone gets chemicals or their own DNA on a piece of evidence, it could become impossible to obtain accurate and trustworthy results from testing. As a result of contamination issues and how they can impact the ability of the courts to convict those accused of serious offenses, law enforcement best practices typically include careful collection of evidence and records of each person who accesses or transfers the evidence.
Occasionally, mistakes get made. One sample could get swapped out with another. An individual could handle a sample inappropriately or administer a test improperly. Any of a large number of circumstances could compromise the evidence and therefore its ability to impact your case.
Your attorney can review the chain of custody for the chemical evidence for your case and examine it for discrepancies. They can do the same with breath test records for the unit used in your arrest and for the officers involved as well.
Proper training of the officers is necessary, as are maintenance, calibration and software updates for the testing unit itself. Failing to meet certain standards could mean that the test results are unreliable and therefore inadmissible in court.
Like anyone else, those accused of a DUI have the right to a defense
It simply isn't fair or reasonable for people to mentally convict those accused of impaired driving offenses before these people have their days in court.
When you fight back against impaired driving charges, you help protect your future from the consequences of a criminal conviction or guilty plea. You also create legal precedent that helps remind other people that not everyone accused of impaired driving has actually broken the law.