Every driving under the influence (DUI) or driving with unlawful alcohol concentration (DUAC) charge needs to be taken seriously and have a strong defense. A proper defense may alleviate the severity of the charges against you or it may result in their complete dismissal. Pursuit of every option is best explored with a competent attorney at your side. Your rights and freedom are at risk if you are convicted. To potentially avoid a conviction, a DUI defense may be tailored to your unique case.
Facing charges can be a challenging experience, but a DUI attorney familiar with the common DUI defenses in Charleston may help you avoid the worst consequences.
Challenging the Elements of a DUI
In a typical case like this, the prosecutor has to prove certain elements in order to win a conviction. The elements of a DUI/DUAC charge must be proven “beyond a reasonable doubt.” This is a high legal standard designed to make it difficult for the state to prove guilt without sufficient evidence.
DUI elements typically include:
- The defendant was driving a motor vehicle
- They were driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- They were under the influence to the extent their ability to drive a motor vehicle safely was adversely affected.
The first tactic is to challenge the prosecutor’s evidence on these elements. If the prosecutor cannot prove them beyond a reasonable doubt, the charge cannot stand and the defendant may successfully defend their case.
Because of this, it is important to retain help from a Charleston attorney familiar with the frequent defenses used in DUI/DUAC cases.
Challenging the Stop, Search, or Arrest
A motion to suppress evidence is permissible if law enforcement violated the law while making a traffic stop, conducting a search, or performing an arrest. If an officer ever violates a defendant’s constitutional rights, a suppression motion may exclude the evidence collected as a result of those illegal actions.
Individuals are sometimes pulled over for an impermissible reason, which may negate the entire drunk driving charge. Other infractions may occur as the result of an unconstitutional search of a person’s body or the vehicle. The arrest for the DUI may also be unconstitutional. A qualified criminal defense attorney can analyze a case to search for potential weaknesses in the government’s case.
Challenging Breathalyzer Results and Other Tests
Officers usually use breathalyzers to detect intoxication for alcohol. These tests are not always accurate. Tests at a police station are often also subject to mistakes by officers and the results can be skewed because of it. Challenging chemical tests is a popular way to defend an accused person in Charleston and could reduce or dismiss the DUI charges against them.
Field sobriety tests are also common in driving cases involving alcohol or drugs. These tests have a defendant perform tasks, such as walking along a straight line or standing on one foot, and the officer looks for signs of intoxication. These tests are subjective and may be challenged in court.
Video Requirements for Charleston DUI Arrests
South Carolina Code § 56-5-2953 requires that all DUI arrests be video recorded in order to be valid. Failures by law enforcement to follow the strict requirements of this statute may result in an innocent verdict for the defendant.
A Charleston attorney familiar with common rebuttals in a DUI or DUAC case can review the arrest for any errors with the video recording. Finding errors may result in dismissal or a reduction of the charges in certain cases.
Talk to a Skilled Attorney about Common DUI Defenses in Charleston Today
DUI or DUAC charges can range from misdemeanors to felonies, and all are serious offenses. You need to protect yourself from potential punishment by seeking to fight off these allegations.
Utilizing common DUI defenses in Charleston may help you avoid a conviction. Let an experienced legal team protect your rights by calling our office today.