Defending yourself against a charge of Oklahoma drunk driving can seem like a hopeless task. But winning an acquittal, a reduction of charges or an outcome that keeps a DUI off your record is possible if your Oklahoma DUI attorney knows how to conduct a drunk driving defense.
Defense strategies against DUI charges can be broken down into categories. One is to challenge the recollections and potentially mistaken preconceptions of the officer who made the arrest. Another is to scrutinize the training of the officer when it comes to how he administered field sobriety tests or the breathalyzer test or or followed required procedures. A third is to offer alternative explanations for your physical symptoms at the time of the arrest or thereafter. And a fourth is to question the accuracy of the blood or breath test results. We will look briefly at each of these below.
Challenging the officer’s memory or preconceptions: Police officers are human beings, so they are subject to human frailties such as lapses of memory or misperceptions. For example, the officer may testify that the reason he pulled you over was because the way that you were driving conformed to a pattern exhibited by drunk drivers. But driving patterns by themselves are not conclusive indicators of DUI. On cross examination it is often possible to get the officer to admit that most traffic violations are done by people who are sober, and even to attest to the ways in which you were driving properly at the time, or to admit that he does not recall all of the ways in which you were driving at the time, thereby indirectly calling into question what he really does remember. This is why obtaining and reviewing the videos when available is such an important tool. It is surprising the number of times we review the video and it shows a completely different version of events.
Scrutinizing the training of the officer: Administering field sobriety tests and breathalyzer tests properly requires the officer to follow multiple steps properly. If the officer failed to follow these procedures, then the validity of these tests becomes less reliable. For example, the officer may not have properly observed you for the required time interval before having you give a breath sample, or may have rushed through the field sobriety tests, thereby not giving you proper instructions or performing the test correctly. Or the officer may have failed to calibrate his equipment properly in advance. The more deviations from established procedures that can be revealed, the better. The manual is very clear that if you deviate from the standardized method…you have compromised the validity of the test.
Alternative explanations for your physical symptoms: The officer may claim that he observed that you had red, watery eyes, a flushed face or an unsteady gait. But these indications are not exclusively caused by alcohol intoxication. There can be other causes that may lead to a reasonable doubt about whether what the officer saw was an accurate sign that you were drinking, such as other medications, allergies, eye irritation, and more.
Challenging test result accuracy: Lack of proper calibration or improper or inadequate training of the officer to use test equipment are one thing, but the test samples themselves can also be disputed. Blood test samples may be subject to a phenomenon known as “salting out.” Residual alcohol in your mouth, or holding your breath, behaviors such as fasting or being on a particular diet, or even some physical conditions can affect the accuracy of test results. Or the sample that you gave may have become compromised at some point while in police or lab custody.
Experienced DUI defense attorneys like the Oklahoma DUI lawyers at the Hunsucker Legal Group will know when, and how to employ these and other defense techniques based on the individual circumstances of our clients. Remember, all that is necessary is to establish a reasonable doubt in the minds of the jurors to prevail, and there are many ways to establish that doubt.
For your free DUI consultation, contact the Hunsucker Legal Group at 405-231-5600.