A lot of people in California have the impression that DUI cases only involve drunk driving. While alcohol is a common cause of many DUI incidences on our roads, the majority actually involve other drugs or a combination of alcohol and drugs. Even more unknown to the general public is that DUID (driving under the influence of drugs) may involve either legal drugs such as prescriptions, over the counter drugs, or the more illicit drugs like methamphetamine. For this reason, DUID cases vary considerably due to the complexity and the type of drugs presented before the court.
In a DUID case, Sections (a) through (g) of the California Vehicle Code 23152 provide the guiding principles of what constitutes DUI charges. In general, the section makes it illegal for any person to operate a vehicle under the influence of any alcoholic beverage, drug, or a combination of both. The legislation further quantifies the legal limit for alcohol intoxication for people with different physical characteristics. You can also learn more about your blood alcohol content level from Am I over 0.08% BAC? However, the law does not give the same level of transparency when it comes to the amount of drug intoxication. The burden to prove intoxication, therefore, falls on law enforcement that have to present sufficient evidence that the driver’s driving capabilities were severely affected by the drugs. Regardless of the charges against you, finding a good lawyer is the first step in winning your case as an experienced attorney may have several defenses to your case.
Defenses Related to Your Driving
A court cannot convict you for a DUID if you were not driving a vehicle in the first place. The DUI process starts when an officer pulls you over following observation of your driving behavior. An arrest made simply because the officer was suspicious even when you were stationary does not constitute a DUI. For the prosecution to have a strong standing case, they must prove that you were operating a vehicle at the time of the arrest or that you were in physical control of one. Their main objective is to prove that your driving would have been dangerous to other people on the road.
Defenses Relating to Your Arrest
The America justice system follows rules and procedures. Police are also expected to follow the appropriate procedure. If an officer did not have legal justification in making an arrest or they did not follow proper legal procedures, prosecution risks having the case thrown out by the court. This is why it is important for citizens to know their basic rights while interacting with law enforcement. If an officer did not follow appropriate measures or lacked probable cause to arrest you, any evidence they submit for your case will be inadmissible in court.
Another crucial step in making an arrest is reading the Miranda Rights. Police officers should read you your rights diligently and flawlessly. Any mishap in how the rights were stated means that the officer did not follow proper procedures. The prosecution can just as easily lose their case before it even begun. You can read more about the Miranda Rights here.
Challenge the Arresting Officer’s testimony
When video or audio evidence fails to provide sufficient evidence against you, it all boils down your experience versus the arresting officer’s testimony. Part of the prosecution’s strategy relies on the arresting officer’s statement on the observations he made prior to the arrest. The officer will need to recount your driving behavior, whether it was erratic, how you interacted with him or her, how you reacted when you were pulled over, how you looked at the time, and how you performed on the field sobriety tests (, which we recommend that you never do). You can challenge the officer’s testimony based on these claims. For example, field sobriety tests are helpful but not 100% effective for determining intoxication. A positive field sobriety test does not automatically indicate that you are experiencing impairment. In another example, marijuana can be visible in one’s blood tests even after four weeks. Certain medications such as antidepressants and flu medications can also affect your cognitive behavior and response time. Moreover, erratic behavior can be caused by high levels of emotional distress, injury, or even fatigue.
Most of these cases don’t go to trial because many people prefer to have the matter settled through negotiation. Whether the case makes it to a trial or not, it is important to have a competent and experienced attorney by your side to guide you on how you should handle your unique situation. We here at Don Hammond Law provide expert services with an impressive track record with our clients. Do not hesitate to reach out to our firm for help in your case.