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Colorado trial attorneys

How To Challenge A DUI Charge

On behalf of Dolan + Zimmerman LLP January 6, 2017

We have all heard stories of people being charged with DUI. She was out at a friend’s house smoking pot or a bar having a couple glasses of wine. When it came time to drive home, she felt fine. Soon, however, there were flashing blue lights in the rearview mirror. A fun night with friends ended in a DUI charge.

Being charged with driving under the influence is frightening. Knowing that your license and possibly your job are on the line is concerning. While it is true that a DUI conviction carries stiff penalties in Colorado, it is important to know that a conviction does not have to be in your future.

Even if you participated in field sobriety test or received negative results on a blood or breath test, there are ways to challenge both DUI charges and driver’s license consequences. With a strong defense, you may be able to keep your license and move on with your life.

Challenging the traffic stop

DUI charges typically stem from a traffic stop. In order to make a traffic stop, however, police must have reasonable suspicion that you have committed or are about to commit an offense of some sort. Because the police must have reasonable suspicion to stop you, it may be possible to challenge the legality of the stop based on what is included in the police report or what is depicted in any video or audio recordings of the stop. If the stop is illegal, any evidence collected during or after that initial contact – including field sobriety and breath or blood test results – may be thrown out.

Challenging field sobriety tests

Field sobriety tests, despite their name, are not designed to determine whether or not a person is too impaired or intoxicated to drive. They are designed to create probable cause to justify an arrest. There are numerous factors that can undermine the reliability of field sobriety tests, including whether the officer administered the test properly or whether you have a physical or mental condition that affects your performance. Some medications can also impact field sobriety test performance. Your lawyer can carefully consider every possibility for challenging the results of field sobriety tests.

Challenging breath and blood tests

Receiving the result of your blood or breath test can be both surprising and devastating. It can feel like you are out of options and you have no alternative to pleading guilty. This is not true. Breath and blood tests can be challenged on various grounds. A breath test machine must be properly calibrated in order to produce an accurate reading and the officer administering the test must be certified to do so, and do it correctly. Similarly, labs can make errors when processing blood tests. The right law firm will know how to look for these errors in an effort to bolster your defense.

Have an attorney on your side

A DUI charge does not have to result in a conviction or a revocation of your driver’s license. There are several ways to effectively challenge drunk driving charges that can eliminate or minimize any impact on your life. To give yourself the best chance of success, it is wise to have an experienced attorney on your side to analyze the factual and legal issues of your case and present an effective defense.