Top 15 Ways to Beat California DUIs
If you are on this website, then you probably have been charged with a DUI. A DUI charge is very serious and can result in you facing various severe punishments. If you are facing DUI charges, you are going to need a knowledgeable and experienced attorney that knows how to handle DUI cases. The team of attorneys at the Orange County DUI Attorney Law Firm knows how to expertly navigate the DUI process and can build you a strong defense.
Often in DUI cases, the prosecution seeks to enhance the charges brought against you. Some of these enhancements are excessive impairment, a high blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.15% or above, or injury to someone. Despite these enhancements, our attorneys can assert various defenses that can help defeat the charges against you. Most of the time, these enhancements can be reduced or possibly even dismissed. This is why it is very important to consult with an attorney before making any decisions on how to move forward with your case. Failing to do so can have a lasting effect on your criminal record, driving privileges, and even your professional life. Vincent Ross, our chief trial attorney, has stated, “I have seen first hand, people walk into court and think the evidence against them is overwhelming. They often plead guilty on advice from a friend or family member because they feel that there is nothing that can beat the charges against them. This is usually not true. Even in the most serious DUI cases, there are a few factors that a defense attorney can use to assess the charges a person is facing, and can give the best options for the person to take using that assessment.”
The following information will summarize the 15 defenses that our lawyers have seen to be the most effective in defending DUI charges. If after reading this information, you still have any unanswered questions, or feel that you could use our representation, we encourage you to contact our office so that we can schedule your FREE consultation. The lawyers at the Orange County DUI Attorney Law Firm will build a defense specifically to ensure you get the best outcome available.
- Errors in Conducting Breath Tests
The breath tests administered in California have been scrutinized for their unreliability for a long time. In challenging your breath test we can assert that the instrument may have malfunctioned, the machine was calibrated incorrectly, the law enforcement officer did not properly administer the test, your diet at the time of your arrest had an impact on the results, and/ or radio interference could have been at fault.
Most agencies administer the test using the Intoxilyzer 8000EN unit to receive a breath sample. However, these devices do not always return a person’s blood alcohol level accurately. This occurs because the breath test device does not measure the alcohol in your blood system, it only measures how much alcohol is present in your mouth at the time the test is administered. Based on that reading, it then utilizes a specific scientific formula to calculate that presence in accordance to what would be present in your blood system. Since this test does not directly measure your BAC, the results it produces are susceptible to various amount of variables that can produce erroneously high blood alcohol readings.
- Alcohol in your Mouth
Instruments used to calculate breath tests are designed to get a sample of the alveolar air located deep in a person’s lungs. If someone has had recent dental work, these devices may use small amounts of alcohol if the person has burped or regurgitated at the time the test was administered; or, if any amount of alcohol has soaked into food that is retained in someone’s teeth may affect the breath test results. If any of these scenarios occur, it causes the machine to detect “mouth alcohol,” rather than using the alveolar air in the lungs, which can result in an erroneously high blood alcohol result. The presence of these factors may be discussed during your initial consultation.
- GERD, Acid Reflux, and Heartburn Contamination
GERD is an acronym for Gastroesphangeal Reflux Disease, a disease along with acid reflux and heartburn, which can produce an inaccurate blood alcohol test result. Any of these medical conditions cause a flow of acid from the stomach to the mouth and can be read as the deep lung air that the blood test instruments are designed to detect. In doing so, these conditions cause a person’s alcohol level results to be higher than they actually are.
- Diets Containing Low Carbs or High Protein, Diabetes, and Hypoglycemia
Diets that are low in carbohydrates, or are high in protein, like the Atkins diet are known to produce isopropyl alcohol within the body. This can also occur due to specific medical conditions, like diabetes and hypoglycemia. When a body is deprived of carbohydrates, the body then uses stored fat for energy. During this process the body produces chemicals known as ketones. When these ketones are broken down and disposed of by the body through the breath or urine, the ketones are turned into isopropyl alcohol. The instruments used in California do not contain the technology enabling them to distinguish between the isopropyl alcohol and the ethyl alcohol that is usually associated with determining if a person has been drinking. The inability to distinguish between these two kinds of alcohols, produced either by diets or medical conditions, can often lead a breath test instrument in producing an inaccurate breath test result.
- Rising Blood Alcohol Level
This situation is usually defined as rising blood alcohol. Usually, it takes the body 50 minutes to 3 hours to absorb alcohol into the body. This can occur after a person is stopped on a suspicion of DUI shortly after having a drink and the alcohol not being completely absorbed into the body. In these circumstances, a person may have been arrested for an inaccurate blood alcohol result. When a person’s BAC is over the legal limit when the test was administered does not mean that the BAC reading was the individual’s BAC when the individual was operating the vehicle. The prosecution usually assumes that every defendant was beyond the highest level of absorption when the test was administered to the defendant. However, the attorneys at our law firm know that this is not always true and that this defense, where the alcohol level was rising in an individual’s blood system can be a successful one.
- DUI Blood Testing in California
There are numerous factors that can raise a suspicion about the accuracy of an individual’s DUI blood test results. Some examples are blood fermentation, blood samples were stored improperly, and the sample was contaminated. Your DUI defense attorney will examine the circumstances surrounding the collection, documenting, and storage of the blood sample taken from you. Sometimes, we insist that a third party test your blood sample. We will devote ourselves to exclude, or suppress any inaccurate blood test results from evidence.
- Violations of Title 17 of the California Code
California has long established regulations that dictate how DUI chemical test should be collected, stored, and analyzed. Failing to adhere to these regulations can compromise the test results, and make the evidence inadmissible. This can happen if a trained technician or phlebotomist did not take the blood test. If this occurred, then we can exclude the blood test results with a motion to suppress. Other common violation can occur if the instruments used to obtain the sample is stored or maintained improperly.
- Absence of Probable Cause
In order for law enforcement officers to stop your vehicle probable cause must be present. If probable cause is absent, then the evidence against is inadmissible and can result in your entire case being dismissed. For an officer to stop you, the officer does not need to provide probable cause that you were drunk driving. Small traffic violations may provide enough probable cause to make the initial stop a lawful one, such as speeding, or a broken taillight. Thus, there must be a valid reason for the office to stop you, and driving late at night where DUIs have occurred frequently is not a sufficient reason to make a stop valid.
If you were stopped lawfully, the law enforcement officer then needs to provide a reason why a DUI test was administered. The small traffic violations stated above would not suffice. An officer needs to point to specific facts that would suggest you were under the influence. Some examples that may satisfy this requirement include alcohol on your breath, or bloodshot eyes. If you were subjected to a DUI test without showing any signs of intoxication, our team of attorneys will challenge the evidence against you to get the test results suppressed.
- Failing to Read your Miranda Rights
At odds with what is commonly seen on TV, officers are not always required to read you your Miranda rights during your DUI arrest. However, if you are arrested and the officer initiates a custodial interrogation, the officer must read you your Miranda rights. A custodial interrogation occurs when you have been arrested or are in police custody, and if the police officer is asking you questions that could result in you making any incriminating statements. If your Miranda rights were not read, your responses can be moved to be inadmissible or suppressed.
- Field Tests Determined Intoxication Inaccurately
California field sobriety tests do not always indicate a person’s level of intoxication accurately. There have been studies that show that field sobriety tests (FSTs) are only 60-70% accurate in determining impairment. There are various factors that can lead to bad performances during FSTs. These include uneven surface, prior injuries, poor lighting, adverse weather conditions, and inadequate footwear (e.g. heeled shoes, or work boots). Also, a person’s level of stress, anxiety or fatigue can impact the individual’s performance on an FST.
- Inherent Errors of the Chemical Testing Instruments
It is widely held in the legal community that the instruments used to measure BAC contain a margin of error of 0.005 to 0.02%. This wide range of inaccuracy can be beneficial for an experienced DUI lawyer. The lawyer can use this to his or her advantage and argue that the instrument used to administer the test is unreliable and the test results are inaccurate. This can be important in cases that involve BAC levels between 0.08% and 0.10%
- DUI Checkpoint Guidelines
In order for a checkpoint to be lawful in California there are guidelines and requirements that must be complied with. If the checkpoint is not conducted properly, any evidence acquired by law enforcement can be suppressed. A few of the DUI guidelines are:
- Maintaining proper supervision of the officers conducting the checkpoint
- Making sure the officers conducting the checkpoint are stopping cars pursuant to the previously determined method
- Advertising of the checkpoint must have been published properly
- Interference of Radio Frequency
There are certain radio frequencies, that if present, can interfere with BAC calculating machines. The interference is known as RFI, and can influence the BAC readings to come back with an inaccurately high reading. The devices that are known to cause the interference with BAC instruments include, but are not limited to:
- Police patrol cars, ambulances, or fire department vehicles
- Cellular phones, iPads, or public and police radios
- Fluorescent lighting
- You Were Not Operating the Motor Vehicle
In order to be convicted of DUI, the prosecutions must establish that you were the one operating the vehicle, as well as doing so under the influence of alcohol. In some cases, this can be very hard to prove, especially in cases where an accident occurred and there are no witnesses to testify about who was behind the wheel of the vehicle. Moreover, if an officer finds you in a parked car, it cannot be automatically proven that you were physically controlling the vehicle. The Orange County DUI Attorney Law Firm is skilled and experienced in handling these types of DUI cases. If the District Attorney or City Attorney cannot prove you were the one driving the vehicle, you cannot be charged with DUI.
- Police Misconduct or Mistake
If evidence of police misconduct can be presented, then the DUI charges against you can be dismissed. DUI charges can be dismissed due to police misconduct, even if you were driving with a BAC over the legal limit (.08%). The state of California has a strict process of professional conduct that every police officer must adhere to. Instances of police misconduct may include:
- Officers did not comply with Title 17 requirements
- Inaccurate reports or mishandling of a DUI stop
- Untrue courtroom testimony and/ or statements
If any of these examples are present or if an officer fabricated or manipulated statements or evidence in your case, the DUI charges you are facing can be suppressed or dismissed entirely.
The DUI process can be stressful and overwhelming. A skilled and knowledgeable attorney can help relieve some of the stress and can improve your chances at receiving the best possible outcome available to you. If you have been arrested and charged for DUI, do not wait or hesitate to call the Orange County DUI Attorney Law Firm.
Call our office today at 949-377-2280 to schedule your FREE consultation.