Facing criminal charges of any kind can make defendants feel as though there is no way to successfully fight the case. Although it is intimidating to think about challenging an impaired driving arrest, there are feasible and reasonable defenses to consider if you are facing charges in Tennessee. Don’t let the fear of fighting the DUI/DWI case compromise your potential defense strategy.
The punishment and consequences for driving under the influence can have long-lasting effects for those with even one offense. State lawmakers continue to seek additional penalties each year, meaning the stakes may be even higher for those convicted.
For skilled criminal defense attorneys, challenging a DUI/DWI charge involves a few key strategies. Each case is unique which means your case needs special attention and consideration, but the starting points are similar across cases. Here are a few ways your defense strategy and legal counsel can help ensure proper disposal of a DUI/DWI charge in Tennessee.
Validity of the traffic stop
The first step in an impaired driving arrest is the traffic stop, so it is a logical first step in challenging the validity of the charges. A law enforcement officer generally needs probably cause to conduct a traffic stop on suspicion of impaired driving.
The traffic stop is often the element on which the rest of the prosecution’s case rests. If a defendant’s legal team can prove the stop was unjustified, there is a possibility to unravel the rest of the case by invalidating any evidence stemming from the traffic stop.
Challenging chemical tests
Chemical tests such as a breathalyzer or blood test of a driver’s blood alcohol content bolster much of the state’s case against an alleged impaired driver. In Tennessee, drivers have few options in regard to refusing tests as this violates the state's implied consent law. Refusal can result in revocation of a driver’s license for one to five years depending on the incident.
Challenging the results of chemical tests is one possible strategy in a defense. Machines and technology used to conduct these tests need proper calibration and maintenance to withstand court scrutiny. It’s this element of the testing that defendants can rely on in a potential challenge of the test results.
Field sobriety test results
Field sobriety tests are subjective measures of a person’s impairment during a traffic stop. Unfortunately, these tests do not consider a number of physical and developmental disabilities and may show false indications of impairment. If a defendant can provide additional reasoning and evidence as to why they failed a sobriety test, this indicator may not stand up in the state’s criminal case.
The idea of challenging a DUI/DWI arrest can intimidate some defendants into accepting fault without evidence. Give yourself the best chance at fighting charges by seeking skilled legal counsel to argue your case. Even if the odds seem against you, prioritize your future by considering fighting these charges.