What are the grounds for challenging my DUI stop?
If you have been arrested for a DUI in Arizona, you are likely overwhelmed by stress and fear. A DUI offense in the state carries with it the possibility of at least 24 hours in jail and up to six months, suspension of your driver’s license, possible probation, fines, and a criminal record. Those with prior DUI convictions can face even harsher penalties. It will become critical for you and your experienced DUI defense attorney to select the strongest defense strategy possible to put these charges behind you.
Your Best Defense Will Depend On Your Unique Circumstances
It’s impossible to recommend one defense strategy as the best method because each DUI case is unique, as is each defendant. Your defense attorney will carefully review the circumstances surrounding your stop, field sobriety testing, any chemical testing, the arrest, and much more. With your attorney’s knowledge of Arizona laws concerning DUIs, he or she can spot the best avenue for attacking the DUI charge.
Potential defense strategies could include:
- Challenging the stop: To lawfully stop your vehicle, under the Fourth Amendment, the arresting officer must have had a reasonable suspicion that you have violated the law. Alternatively, you could be stopped under a lawfully conducted DUI checkpoint. If you were obeying all traffic laws at the time of the stop, you could challenge it as an arbitrary stop, which would require the case be dismissed if successful.
- Lack of probable cause for the arrest: Even if the stop was valid, a police officer must have probable cause to pursue your arrest. If you refused the field sobriety testing and breathalyzer, and further did not show signs of intoxication, then you could have a viable challenge as to a lack of probable cause.
- Improper Miranda warnings: Arizona law requires that the officer read you a list of your legal rights, commonly referred to as your Miranda rights. If you are not read your full Miranda rights or do not properly waive these rights, then statements you made that consisted of admissions as to your guilt cannot be used against you.
- Breathalyzer errors: Police officers must follow very specific guidelines when it comes to administering and calibrating the breathalyzer test. If the officer was not certified to use the machine, failed to follow protocol, or used a poorly maintained device, the results of the test could be thrown out.
Speak to a DUI defense attorney as soon as possible after your arrest. The sooner you start preparing your defense, the better prepared you will be as the court action proceeds against you.
Posted in: DUI