Facing a DUI charge can be confusing and overwhelming. But fighting a DUI charge is not always a lost cause.
Alabama has strict DUI penalties, including license suspension, jail time and costly fines. When the evidence seems stacked against you, these penalties may sound inevitable. But in some cases, errors can lead to unfair convictions.
Inaccurate field test results
Often, police officers use field sobriety tests to determine your level of intoxication from a physical standpoint. They might use three different types of tests to do so:
- Walk-and-turn — Determines how well you can walk heel-to-toe in a straight line and turn on one foot without stepping out of line.
- One-leg stand — Tests your ability to balance on one leg for 30 seconds without using your arms for added support.
- Horizontal gaze nystagmus — Used to assess any involuntary jerking of your eyes as you watch an officer’s finger move in a side-to-side motion.
Unfortunately, these tests are outdated and don’t take into account other factors such as age, disability or nervousness. For example, an older or disabled person may not be able to stand on one leg for 30 seconds. Additionally, if you’re nervous, you might be more likely to fail. An officer may wrongly attribute any of these results to intoxication.
Faulty breath tests
Breath tests are a more effective way of detecting alcohol in your system, but that doesn’t guarantee they are always accurate. There are several factors that can influence breath tests. If a police officer calibrates the device incorrectly, it may show an inaccurate result. Some mouthwashes and breath fresheners can trigger a false positive. Even the cleaning chemicals used to sanitize breath tests can skew a reading.
While chemical tests like urine and blood tests are more accurate than field sobriety and breath tests, it isn’t beyond the realm of possibility that a nurse or lab technician made a mistake. Evidence that points to improper test administration or mishandling of test results may help you demonstrate the potential inaccuracy of your test results.
When faced with a DUI charge, don’t lose hope. Fighting a DUI charge is possible. You may be able to develop an effective defense strategy to find the best possible outcome for your case.