If you've been charged with a DUI, you might be wondering what your options are for addressing the situation. Your options range from trying to fight it to pleading guilty, and there are a couple in between. Let's examine what might be worth considering as you present a DUI defense.
Proving You Weren't Intoxicated
This is one of the tougher defenses because it usually relies on proving something about your body chemistry or about the equipment used to do the tests. Exotic defenses include things like auto-brewery syndrome, a disorder where the stomach produces excess alcohol that throws off tests. The simpler approach is to look at the equipment used to do the breath test and raise questions about its accuracy or how it was used. This usually involves collecting data about the model and comparing your tests to other cases that were questionable.
It's usually wise to avoid this defense if you're not 100% sure you hadn't been drinking. Bear in mind the police might argue that you were otherwise intoxicated, such as from the use of pharmaceutical or illicit drugs, but that at least makes prosecution harder.
Questioning the Traffic Stop
In American law, there's an understanding that the police can't randomly pull people over without cause. If you study the charges filed against you, there should be an affidavit from the arresting officer explaining that something initially caught their attention. This might be something like a non-working taillight, going over the speed limit, or repeatedly crossing the center line. Attorneys often seek cruiser dash video feeds to see what the cop saw and confirm or refute the claims from the affidavit.
There does come a point where the futility of presenting a defense may not be worth the effort. Entering a plea of guilty may give you a chance to ask the court to go light on you, especially if you're a first-time offender. Accepting responsibility may also help the judge arrive at a lighter sentence, particularly if the defendant is open to drug and alcohol counseling.
A Reduced Charge
In the strictest sense, this is also pleading guilty. The big difference here is that you wouldn't plead guilty to the DUI charge. Instead, your lawyer might propose a plea involving a reduced charge, with reckless driving being one of the more common options. Once again, this approach usually works best if you don't have a history of recent offenses.