A prosecutor needs evidence to prove a case involving driving under the influence (DUI). Knowing what types of evidence could be used against you could help your DUI defense attorney form a plan on how to defend your case. A skilled legal team could examine your situation and create a customized defense. Not all evidence is admissible, and anything that was collected in violation of the law may be excluded.
Evidence used in Charleston DUI cases can vary depending on your specific situation. A consultation of your case could help build the defense you need to lower or avoid harsh penalties.
Officer Testimony in DUI Cases
If an officer makes a stop for a suspected driving under the influence (DUI), they are required to have reasonable suspicion for that stop. In justifying their actions, officers are required to testify as to why they initiated the traffic stop. They will also testify as to what they observed that led them to believe the driver was intoxicated.
Officers commonly testify to observations such as the:
- Driver had slurred speech or was incoherent
- Driver’s eyes were red and bloodshot
- Driver could not stand properly
- Reasons for the initial traffic stop
- Interactions between the defendant and the officer
- Any statements made by the defendant
Challenging this evidence requires a thorough understanding of state criminal procedures and defensive tactics. A Charleston attorney could help refute evidence used against the defendant in a DUI/DUAC case.
Field Sobriety Tests as Evidence
Field sobriety tests occur on the roadside before an arrest is made for a suspected DUAC. They are meant to look for signs of intoxication, either through alcohol or drugs. Three primary tests are utilized by law enforcement officers.
The Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test is when the officer shines a light in the driver’s eyes and looks for the presence of an involuntary jerking of the eye, also known as a nystagmus. The Walk the Line Test requires a driver to take nine steps in a heel to toe fashion on a straight line. The driver must then turn using a series of small steps, and walk nine heel-to-toe steps back the other way again. The One Leg Stand Test is when the driver is required to stand on one leg with the other leg about six inches from the ground for a count of about 30 seconds.
Performance on these field sobriety tests are used by the officer to determine if the driver is intoxicated. These observations may be challenged by a Charleston attorney, as they do not scientifically prove the driver was intoxicated and oftentimes are performed under difficult conditions with improper or insufficient instructions by the officer prior to performing the tests.
Charleston Chemical Testing Evidence
Usually, the only chemical test in a South Carolina DUI case is a breath test on the DataMaster machine. A breathalyzer examines a person’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) and cannot detect the presence of drugs. The test result is usually the primary justification to arrest someone for DUI.
Sometimes, depending on the circumstances, an additional chemical test in the form of blood or urine may be performed to determine alcohol or drug intoxication. Very specific procedures must be used for these tests to be accurate and admissible. An experienced Charleston DUI attorney often has many areas to evaluate and challenge when these chemical tests are performed, and a successful challenge will result in suppression of evidence that often will leave the prosecutor with nothing else to present for a conviction.
Enlist a Charleston DUI Defense Attorney Today
Just because the prosecutor has evidence, it does not mean it will lead to a conviction. Improperly collected or maintained evidence may not be admissible, and other legal challenges may apply to the evidence against you.
Defenses against evidence used in Charleston DUI cases exist to protect the rights and innocence of the accused. To determine what may apply in your individual case, contact an experienced attorney today.