I've been charged with DUI -- what are my defense options?
Drunk driving is not something that the state of Oklahoma takes lightly. If you have received a DUI charge, the consequences associated with a conviction can take a real toll on your life. Thankfully, a criminal charge does not mean the guarantee of a conviction. There may be one or more ways to fight the charges against you.
What defense options are there for DUI cases? Are any of them really ever effective? Would I just be better off accepting the punishment the court is ready to give me?
Defense options fall into three different categories. These categories are affirmative, common and uncommon. A few examples of affirmative defense options include:
- Mistake of fact: This defense may be appropriate if you were driving and honestly believed you were not under impairment at the time.
- Involuntary intoxication: You may use this defense option if you can prove that you did not know someone had served you alcohol.
- Necessity: You may use this defense if you can prove that you had to drive while intoxicated or face a more serious consequence -- such as harm to you, a friend or family member.
A few examples of common DUI defenses include:
- Lack of probable cause: Did an officer stop you without really having reason to?
- Validity of field sobriety tests: Did the officer administer the tests correctly? How accurate were the results?
- Validity of breath test: Was the machine properly maintained and calibrated? Was there any other reason that a high blood alcohol readout may have occurred?
A few examples of uncommon DUI defenses include:
- Not the driver: Did you switch places with the driver, believing you were sober? While not a smart move, if you can prove that is what you did, it could help your case to some degree.
- Unethical police actions: Did the arresting officer violate your rights, act improperly or doctor a DUI report?
When it comes to a drunk driving defense, it all comes down to the facts of the case and what you can prove or successfully question. Defense strategies can work if properly navigated.
Is a DUI charge worth fighting?
Yes. There is no need to just sit back and accept whatever punishment the state deems reasonable in your case. You can protect yourself and your future by trying to fight a DUI charge.