A DUI- or driving under the influence- charge is a criminal offense, whose penalties and particulars vary by state and circumstance. In general, a DUI is considered a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the state and circumstances involved. In most states, there are specific penalties given based on certain convictions. If charged with a DUI it is important to have a good DUI defense. A good DUI defense includes both knowledge about DUIs- how and why they are penalized and what DUI defenses might be relevant- and having a good DUI defense attorney who can help you defend yourself in a DUI case.
A good DUI defense is aided by knowledge regarding DUI laws. First and foremost, DUI laws are different in every state, but there are some laws that are found in almost every state. Most states have per se laws that make operating a vehicle with a blood-alcohol level of .08 or above a crime. Many states have administrative license suspension laws, where a DUI defendant can lose their license- even before a conviction- for an amount of time established by state law. Most states can require the DUI offender to have ignition interlocks installed in their vehicles. These interlocks make driving the car impossible if it registers the driver’s blood alcohol levels to be at illegal levels. Multiple offenders receive harsher punishments in DUI convictions and may have to give up their vehicles entirely.
DUI defense may be compounded in the following circumstances where DUI sentences are automatically made harsher: a child was in the car at the time, the driver was speeding, the driver’s blood-alcohol level was at or above a .20 percent, the driver refused chemical testing (as mandated by implied consent laws), if there were injury or property damages involved in the crime, or if there was a prior offense.
Because of the complexities of any DUI case, there are some potential DUI defense factors that can help out in a DUI case. The prosecution must prove that the defendant was in fact driving the car at the time of intoxication. Another DUI defense can be made if the officer did not have probable cause to stop, detain, and arrest the defendant. If the officer didn’t inform the defendant of Miranda and Implied Consent laws, this may be used in DUI defense. The opinions and observations of the arresting officer may be called into question during a DUI defense. Chemical testing results may also be called into question during the DUI defense because of the potential for inaccuracy in a testing (urine analysis tends to be the least reliable; blood tests the most accurate). There are also several other factors that may be of importance to a DUI defense.
DUI laws are complex and complicated, therefore there are lawyers who specialize in DUI defense and can greatly help maximize your interests and options in a DUI case.