Following an arrest on DUI charges, you may feel embarrassed for yourself and your family, and concerned about the effect on your personal and professional reputations. Most of all, you may be worried that you will have to go to jail.
If you are ever in this situation, a high-quality defense attorney can be a huge help. Depending on the circumstances of your traffic stop and subsequent arrest, you may not end up facing any criminal charges at all.
Potential challenges to the prosecutor’s case
Evidence that a driver is committing DUI is often not as cut and dried as police and prosecutors want you to think. For example, your breathalyzer test results could have been skewed by an officer’s failure to recalibrate the machine properly or other human error. Your actual blood-alcohol level at the time might have been much lower than the reading.
Then there are the field sobriety tests that the police officer who pulled you over might have ordered you to perform. These tests are subjective, meaning that whether you pass or not is mostly up to the officer’s judgment. They often fail to take into account things like weather conditions, time of day, and any disabilities the performer might have.
Finally, there is the matter of the traffic stop itself. The law states that, before they can stop you, a CHP officer or local police officer must have a reasonable, articulable suspicion that you are committing a crime or just committed one. For example, if an officer witnessed your car swerving in and out of its lane, that could justify pulling you over. But if the police lacked a reasonable cause for pulling you over, any evidence they subsequently collected against you could be thrown out of court.
Other options that might help you
Even if none of these factors apply in your case, it is often possible to get DUI charges reduced, especially if you do not have a prior record. You may qualify for one of California’s DUI diversion programs, in which the charges against you are dismissed if you meet certain conditions for a set time, up to two years.
To learn what your options are after a DUI arrest, contact an experienced defense lawyer in your area.