When a person is suspected of driving under the influence (DUI) in California, that person will eventually have the chance to present a legal defense to the charges in court. Even though a person has the right to self represent in court, this is not recommended, because most average people don’t have the knowledge of the legal system necessary to defeat charges as serious as DUI.
Chemical Testing Error Rates
Chemical testing is the process by which a sample of a DUI suspect’s blood, breath, or urine is analyzed to determine the amount of alcohol in the person’s system. In California, a person age 21 or older can have a blood alcohol content of up to .07% and still operate a vehicle legally (assuming the person can maintain positive control of the vehicle). If a person is found in operation of a vehicle with a blood alcohol content of .08% or higher, that person can be arrested and charged with DUI. California’s zero tolerance policy makes it illegal for anyone under the legal drinking age to operate a motor vehicle with any amount of alcohol in the system.
However, the tests which are approved by the state of California for determining the amount of alcohol in a person’s system are not free from the risk of error, and maintain an error rate of between .005 and .02%. This means that evidence of a blood alcohol content between .08 and .10% can be effectively argued against by the DUI suspect’s attorney in court.
Distracted Driving is Not DUI
Part of the testimony that police may present to a prosecutor as proof that a DUI offense has been committed will include the driving behavior of the suspect before a traffic stop that led to an arrest. This testimony can be presented as proof that the suspect was not able to operate his or her vehicle safely prior to the arrest. However, there are several reasons for why a person might weave, speed, or appear to be driving erratically on the road. For example, the suspect could have been distracted by passengers or any number of other distractions that are found in today’s vehicles. While unsafe, distracted driving alone is not enough to justify charges for DUI in California.
Physiological Conditions Can Mimic DUI Symptoms
Even a person who is entirely sober and who has never consumed alcohol or drugs can display signs of DUI. Fatigue, allergies, illness, and injury can all make a person appear to be driving under the influence when the person in fact is not. Police officers in the field are not medical professionals trained to discern between unrelated physiological conditions and symptoms of DUI, they are only trained to report what they see – and, often times, what they see is not what they think.
An Attorney Should Argue Defenses
Only an experienced DUI defense attorney should be hired to defend against charges of DUI. Trying to self represent or partnering with anything less than an experienced DUI defense attorney can have a negative adverse affect on the success of any case.