Facing a DUI charge is an incredibly daunting experience. To give yourself the best chance at a positive outcome, you should understand the process. You should also learn strategies for forming a defense against the prosecution's case.
Understand the DUI Laws in Tennessee
Tennessee takes drunk driving seriously, and the consequences can be severe. You may face steep fines, license suspension or revocation, and even jail time. It's crucial to understand the laws and how they affect your case.
Circumstances that affect a DUI charge include:
- Any prior DUI convictions
- Whether anyone was injured or killed
- Your alleged blood alcohol content (BAC) at the time of your arrest
Research the Qualifications of the Arresting Officer
By delving into the officer's background, you can determine if they were properly trained to handle DUI cases. If they are underqualified, you may be able to find procedural errors related to your arrest.
Most of us have no experience with background checks like these. Your attorney should be overlooking all details of your arrest, including the arresting officer’s experience.
Search for Mistakes Law Enforcement Made During the DUI Arrest
For example, question whether the officer had a reasonable suspicion to pull you over. There are specific reasons why a traffic stop is justifiable.
Also, investigate whether police followed proper procedure during the field sobriety tests. Any error could lead to the dismissal of your case.
Additionally, look into mistakes in a breathalyzer test. If the equipment is not properly calibrated, this hurts a large part of the prosecution’s case. You should also question any blood tests. Only qualified personnel can administer this test, and any sample must be properly stored.
Your lawyer should be taking a close look at every aspect of your arrest and investigation. When they find discrepancies, they can exploit them to your advantage.
Scrutinize the Evidence of Your DUI
You should investigate the strength of any evidence against you. Any weaknesses can hurt the prosecution's case. For example, examine the credibility of witnesses, and see if their stories have any holes.
Also, scrutinize any evidence like the field sobriety test or the breathalyzer results. Was there an outside force, such as rain, that made you fail your test? Were you sick at the time that you blew into the breathalyzer, or had you just consumed something that would show up as alcohol?
Questions like these are important. They can mean the difference between a conviction and your freedom. Your attorney should be asking such questions, breaking down the case against you.
Build a Case for Your Sobriety at the Time of Your DUI Arrest
- How long ago you had a drink
Just because you have alcohol on your breath does not mean you are drunk. The time between your last drink and your driving is highly relevant.
- Any medications you were taking
Some medications have side effects that mirror symptoms of drunkenness, like slurred speech, without actually impairing your driving.
- The type and amount of alcohol you consumed
Different drinks contain different levels of alcohol content, and these facts can help prove that you had not consumed too much.
- Any illnesses that could be confused for intoxication
Alternatives to Jail in Your DUI Case
Another option is exploring a plea deal with the prosecution. Generally, this involves pleading guilty to a lesser charge in exchange for a reduced sentence. This is a good option when the evidence against you is strong, and a conviction is likely.
You must consult with an attorney before making any deals with the prosecution. Their job is to help you choose the best course of action for your case. An attorney can review the evidence and help you understand the potential consequences of a plea deal versus going to trial.
If you’ve been accused of drunk driving, Patton & Pittman Attorneys is here to stand by your side. We will help you decide what to do next, and we always work toward our client’s best outcomes. For a free consultation, contact us online or call us now at (931) 361-4477.