Most people know that driving while impaired by alcohol or other substances is not only unsafe, but against the law. Under Indiana’s OWI laws, drivers who operate their vehicles with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher is considered legally intoxicated and may face criminal charges. First-time offenders with a BAC of 0.08 to 0.15% may be charged with a Class C misdemeanor and face up to 60 days in jail and a fine of up to $500.
It is important to remember that getting charged with a crime does not mean that you will be convicted. If you have been arrested on DUI charges, there are more than a few possible ways to defend yourself. Here are some of the most common DUI defense strategies:
Disputing the initial stop
If a police officer decides to stop your vehicle, they must have a reasonable belief that you have broken the law in some way. Generally, if the officer observes you speeding, running a red light or stop sign, swerving, or violating another traffic law, stopping you is legal. If the officer had no real reason to stop you, your attorney can suppress any evidence obtained during that illegal stop.
Disputing Breathalyzer results
If the officer who stopped you suspected you were intoxicated, they likely asked you to submit to a Breathalyzer, a device that uses your breath to measure your blood alcohol concentration. However, breath test results may be inaccurate for several reasons, including:
- Inadequate training for the officer administering the test.
- Improper calibration of the device.
- Health conditions affecting the driver.
- Excessive time between time of traffic stop and time test was administrated.
Disputing field sobriety results
The officer who stopped your vehicle may also ask you to submit to field sobriety tests, including the horizontal gaze nystagmus, walk and turn, and one-leg stand. However, the results of these tests can be challenged for various reasons including:
- Improper administration of tests/failure to follow National Highway Traffic Safety Administration guidelines.
- Unreliability of tests.
- Health conditions impacting the driver.
Any of the above defenses can help your case and even result in the dismissal of your case altogether, but this is not a comprehensive list. It is in your best interest to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney in your area to determine the best defense to use in your specific case.