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How Do You Defend Against a DUI?

Being arrested and charged with driving under the influence can be an incredibly frightening experience. The possible consequences are severe: license suspensions, fines, jail time, and more. It can also preclude you from being able to work at certain jobs and it can have a serious impact on your life. That’s why it’s crucial to find a lawyer who specializes in DUI cases in Denver and who can defend you successfully. Attorney Kevin Churchill has been handling all types of DUIs for 22 years, including underage DUI, drug DUI, and out of state DUI. Churchill is always available to defend you.

Common DUI Defenses

There are many different legal defenses that can be raised in response to a DUI charge. Some of the most common ones include the following:

1. You Weren’t Driving

Unsurprisingly, one of the most effective DUI defenses is that you weren’t driving. This isn’t the type of defense that you will present if a police officer stops you for a traffic violation and then arrests you for a DUI; clearly you were the one driving if this is how the incident occurred. However, if you were involved in a car accident and there was another person in the car with you, it might be more difficult for the police to know who was driving, especially if you’re both outside of the car once they arrive. In this case, the police will have to rely on other evidence, such as witness statements or video footage if it exists. If there are no witnesses and no video footage, it will be more difficult for them to prove you are guilty of driving under the influence because they may not be able to show that you were actually doing the driving.

Another version of this defense is that you were in the car, possibly even in the driver’s seat, but you weren’t operating the vehicle. Perhaps you were parked with the car turned off, sleeping off a night out on the town. If you parked the car before you were drinking, and then you fell asleep inside the vehicle, you may be able to raise this as a DUI defense. It’s possible that you returned to the car totally inebriated, yet had the good sense to sleep it off before driving.

2. DUI Chemical Test Procedures Were Not Followed

When you’re suspected of driving under the influence, the police officers must follow certain procedures when they obtain your urine, breath and blood to try to determine if you are under the influence. For example, if you’re being breathalyzed, the machine must be calibrated correctly. If it’s not, it could produce incorrect and unreliable results. It’s also possible to raise the defense that the officer who was performing the breath test wasn’t trained properly. Another possibility is that you weren’t tested within the proper time frame. You must be breathalyzed within two hours of having driven, and if this time frame isn’t followed, it may be possible to have the breath results excluded from court. There are many other factors that go into chemical testing and procedures, but these are some of the common possibilities that could occur.

3. No Probable Cause For The Stop

If you’re driving and are pulled over without probable cause, everything that occurs after the car stop should be inadmissible in court because it’s considered fruit of the poisonous tree. For example, if a police officer stops you and they didn’t have probable cause, but then they notice that you smell like alcohol and they perform a blood test, and it shows that you were under the influence, your lawyer can file a motion to suppress in order to attempt to have the results of the test thrown out. If your attorney is successful, the prosecutor won’t be able to use or even mention these results. There must be a valid reason for you to be pulled over, or any evidence that was used against you is inadmissible.

4. Witnesses Aren’t Credible

If you decide to fight your DUI and go to trial, witnesses will have to testify against you, and the prosecutor will have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you were under the influence and unable to safely operate your vehicle. The witnesses can include police officers or civilian witnesses as well. If their testimony doesn’t make sense or just doesn’t come across as credible, it’s possible that the judge may not believe them, and could acquit you based on finding the witnesses not credible. This is mostly applicable if there was no chemical test performed, or it could also be possible for the judge to decide that the police officer didn’t perform the test as required and is lying about it in order to try and get a conviction.

5. Your Blood Was Illegally Obtained

If you’re stopped for suspicion of DUI in Colorado, you should be given the choice between a breath or a blood test in most circumstances. If your blood was taken against your will even though you requested a breath test, this could be grounds to have the results thrown out and could be very beneficial in defending your case. Only in the following circumstances can the police officer perform a blood test against your will:

  • The officer had probable cause to believe that you committed a criminally negligent homicide;
  • The officer had probable cause to believe that you committed vehicular homicide;
  • The officer had probable cause to believe that you committed assault in the third degree; or
  • The officer had probable cause to believe that you committed vehicular assault.

Additionally, if the police officer reasonably believes that your DUI was caused in whole or in part by drugs as opposed to alcohol, they can require that you take a blood, urine, or saliva test. If there was no reasonable belief that drugs had anything to do with your DUI, your lawyer can attempt to have the results thrown out.

Contact Churchill Criminal Defense For Quality Legal Representation

Churchill Criminal Defense has been handling Denver DUI cases for more than two decades. If you’ve been arrested and charged with a DUI, it’s imperative that you find an attorney who knows how to defend all types of DUI cases. Driving under the influence charges can be complicated and difficult to defend, so hiring the best attorney with extensive experience specifically in the handling of DUIs is very important. When you hire Kevin Churchill of Churchill Criminal Defense, you’re hiring an attorney who has successfully defended hundreds of DUI cases in Colorado. Contact us today at (303) 832-9000 or use our easy online contact form to schedule a free consultation.