While you may be in disbelief that there are solid defenses to your DUI charge, there are actually many. With a qualified and experienced DUI defense attorney, you may be surprised at how many ways the prosecution may be at the disadvantage – not you. That is because the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you are guilty of the accused DUI crime. That places the burden of proof in their court. The job of your attorney will be to find weaknesses in their case – and there are always some if you know where to look. Here are some very likely DUI defenses that a Georgia DUI lawyer may be able to use in your case.
Take DUI breath test machines. In America, five primary devices made by four different manufacturers are in use in the 50 states plus the District of Columbia. All operate off either infrared spectroscopy or by means of a fuel cell, or both methods of detection/analysis.
There are at least 50 ways to challenge evidence from these breath test machines. DUI defense attorneys must understand the internal workings of any breath testing device used in your DUI case in order to be able to cross-examine the state’s expert witnesses effectively on the breath machine’s alleged accuracy.
Failure to follow the proper procedures during your DUI-DWI arrest, or for handling the scientific or documentary evidence collected from your arrest (blood, urine or breath samples, the police video, any photos taken by the police of the scene or of you, etc.) can result in your attorney successfully arguing pre-trial motions that can either cause your case to be dismissed or key State evidence excluded.
DUI Standard of Proof
If a DUI case goes to trial, both the defense and prosecution have a job to do. The defense is not required to present compelling evidence to convince the jury that the defendant should not be found guilty. The Defendant in a DUI case in can simply remain silent. The prosecution is charged with meeting a standard or burden of proof to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the Defendant has committed a DUI.
What is Reasonable Doubt?
Under the law, reasonable doubt is a doubt for which a reasonable juror can attach a reason. A Georgia DUI lawyer will present jury charges that a Judge will read to the jury during a trial. Reasonable doubt can creep in during trial in two different ways:
- The prosecution can leave room for reasonable doubt by not tying up all of the evidence or making a strong enough case
- The defense can introduce reasonable doubt by presenting compelling evidence that contradicts the prosecution’s claims or by providing an alternative theory as to the events or crime
- If a jury member has any doubt as to the defendant’s guilt, he or she must vote for acquittal.
Police Need Probable Cause
Before police can stop your vehicle, probable cause must exist. For example, an officer can only legally stop you if they observed you violating some law, usually a traffic offense such as speeding. Probable cause must also occur during the detaining and arresting phases.
The officer must have also observed you to be the one driving the vehicle. The prosecution must prove that not only were you drunk, but that you were the one driving. If there was an accident and there were no witnesses, the prosecution can have a difficult time.
As you have responsibilities, so do the police. When placing you under arrest, police must read you your Miranda rights informing you that you have the right to remain silent. This ensures you do not make any self-incriminating statements against yourself due to being nervous or feeling threatened or pressured by police.
What If the Officer Doesn’t Show?
If you are charged with driving under the influence in Georgia, you may mistakenly believe that your charges will be dismissed if the officer who arrested you does not show up at the initial hearing, a proceeding known as your arraignment. Despite popular opinion, the law does not require the police officer to attend the first court date for a DUI case.
As a result, you should be prepared to proceed with your case regardless of whether the officer is present or not. Even if the officer who arrested you is unable to attend the initial hearing, you can expect the judge to uphold the charges against you