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How Can You Defend a DUI?

Sep 2nd, 2016 DUI Defense

Successfully defending a Michigan DUI charge requires a combination of things, and perhaps first among them is your finding and hiring a DUI specialist.  Once you’ve hired the right lawyer, keep in mind that there is always a defense to every DUI case.

Very generally speaking, there are three categories of legal defenses.  Legal defenses are decided by the judge. A legal defense usually arises because the police involved in investigating your case fail to follow law.  You may think that police officers must know the law, and furthermore that the police officer in your case seemed to “know what he was doing.”

Regardless of how it seemed to you during your arrest, at the Barone Defense Firm we have found police mistakes in nearly every case we’ve handle.  This does not mean that we won every case or that we got every one of our client’s cases dismissed.  Some mistakes are more significant than others, but finding mistakes is often the start of a successful defense.

Understanding that police mistakes are quite common, it is also helpful to know that these mistakes usually fall into three different possible categories: (1) violations of Constitutional rights; (2) violations of state law; and (3) violations of administrative rules.

In addition to legal defenses, there are also factual defenses. Factual defenses are decided by a jury not a judge. In thinking about factual defenses it is helpful to think about the name of the crime: Operating While Intoxicated.  Each word creates its own category of potential defenses as follows:

Operating – were you actually in operation of the motor vehicle?  While this term is broadly defined by our laws in Michigan, at trial a jury may acquit someone they think were not operating.  We have won many cases were there was a “fact” question as to whether or not the person charged was actually the driver of the car, and if so, then if the state has proved the “element” of operation. So, for example, if you were sitting in your car keeping warm in a parking lot, the police might properly and lawfully arrest you, but the jury might find this does not meet the definition of operation.

While – first you should understand that the breath test you took at the roadside is not admissible because of accuracy and reliability problems.  Consequently, the test used to establish if you were over the limit is almost always taken a minimum of 45 minutes to an hour post-driving.  Because the law requires the state to prove you were intoxicated at the time you were driving (while driving), in the eyes of the jury, this post-driving test may be insufficient evidence.  Thus, a jury might acquit on this basis alone.  This is sometimes called a rising blood alcohol defense.

Intoxicated – now we really get into the meat and potatoes of drunk driving defense.  Just because there is a test that appears to be over the limit does not mean you were actually intoxicated.  There are literally many dozens of reasons why a breath or blood test result may be inaccurate, unreliable or imprecise.  The same is true relative to the so-called field sobriety tests, which are totally subjective and often administered improperly.  Your lawyer’s job is to show the jury why the field and chemical evidence in your case is unreliable – that it does not prove what the state claims it proves.

When you call the Barone Defense Firm for your FREE case evaluation we will begin to evaluate your case and help you understand what defenses might be applicable to your specific facts and circumstances.

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