If you have ever left a party after a few drinks, perfectly capable of driving, and been pulled over by law enforcement, you have probably been issued a ticket for DUI, or driving under the influence. DUI tickets become more common as states strengthen their driving laws. However, you may have a good chance at fighting your ticket if you identify one of these five law enforcement mistakes.
Use of a Breathalyzer to Determine Alcohol Level
Breathalyzers are problematic when it comes to sealing an impaired driving conviction. Because concentrated alcohol can stay in the mouth of the test taker, it is often unknown whether the reading is accurate or simply reading high because of the direct contact with alcohol. The machines often malfunction or are misused by an officer who was not correctly trained to administer the testing.
Further, medical conditions can impact breathalyzer readings. Individuals who experience gastro esophageal reflux disease, or GERD, experience a backflow of stomach acid that reaches as far as the top of the esophagus. GERD is triggered by alcohol, and having backflow present at the time an individual is breathalyzed often presents a falsely high reading.
Delayed Blood Alcohol Content Testing
Those who refuse a field sobriety test are taken to a hospital emergency room to have blood drawn to test their blood alcohol content. Emergency rooms triage vital cases first, so a healthy individual waiting for a blood draw would be less of a priority than a car crash, stroke, or gun shot wound. That individual is likely to wait until all urgent cases are treated before having their blood drawn.
Alcohol does not immediately enter the blood stream. The body must break it down into simple sugars before it is detected in the blood. Because of the delay in the emergency room, an individual’s blood alcohol content can read significantly higher than it would have at the time of arrest.
Mishandled Blood Testing
Blood is drawn and tested by hospital staff following their chain of custody procedures, not law enforcement’s. Improper storage of blood, as well as lab contamination, could account for a higher blood alcohol content. Additionally, if blood is drawn and allowed to sit before being tested, the alcohol in the blood will ferment, producing a higher blood alcohol content.
Lack of Miranda Rights
While the reading of the Miranda rights is necessary for any arrest, it does not necessarily happen. If the law enforcement agent performing the arrest on a suspected inebriated driver forgets to inform them of their Miranda rights, or, in a haste does not state them properly, the arrest and all subsequent charges are void.
Errors in paperwork are most commonly caught by the lawyer representing the accused. The lawyer examines the entire arrest record, searching for inconsistencies. The initial field documentation, testimony of the arresting officer, and any depositions are scanned. Even the smallest inaccuracy leaves room for doubt in the eye of the law. The lawyer also looks for outright fabrications. If these are found, the case will be immediately dismissed.
Those pulled over after drinking do not need to fear that a DUI will leave a mark on their permanent record. Field sobriety tests that include a breathalyzer are often inaccurate, especially if the individual has a medical condition. Blood draws to determine blood alcohol content are often delayed, indicating false readings, or even inappropriately handled by hospital staff. Law enforcement agents do make mistakes, be it forgetting to Mirandize a suspect at the time of arrest or simply fudging paperwork. There is hope that the charge will be overturned.
Contact us today if you need help. We have over 25 years of experience fighting traffic tickets and helping people reinstate their license.