The Charge Has Been Filed – Do I Have Any Hope?
‘Reckless’ shouldn’t be reserved for driving infractions; often, it should be applied to evidence practices as well.
What appalls me most with traffic citations—from violations to DUI charges—is the foolhardy process often exhibited by the justice system.
Now, I’m a strong proponent of our justice system. In my years of practicing, though, I have seen how it can tip against the favor of drivers. Ticket prices can pin people down financially; but the results of a DUI charge can forever alter someone’s life.
This is what I fight against.
Often what I see are police officers acting overzealously by issuing tickets when they aren’t necessary. People have buzzed about ‘monthly quotas’, but I’m talking about methods that flat out don’t coincide with the law.
Our office has been fighting these cases for so long that we can spot these infractions easily. When we examine the case, we are able to see where the officer clearly misstepped, or what options exist for you as the defendant. The problem is that the common civilian isn’t aware of how many options are available once the ticket has been issued.
Here they are:
Filing Suppression Motions
A motion to suppress means I would legally exclude evidence that can be used against my client in the trial.
Sometimes this is done by challenging the lawfulness of the initial traffic stop. If the officer did not have probable cause to pull you over, then all evidence afterward—statements, blood/breath tests, sobriety tests—cannot be used against you.
That’s best case scenario. Next step could be suppressing blood, breath, or urine tests themselves, as these are often scientifically unreliable. This is more accurate for breath tests – a study showed breath readings could vary at least 15% from actual blood alcohol levels. This won’t drop the whole case, but certainly eliminate certain counts.
Other Discrepancies in DUI Testing
The procedure for properly charging a DUI is so thorough – as mentioned, just breath tests alone have dozens of ways to be discredited. For example, if someone has Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (“GERD”), acid reflux or heartburn, then it could contaminate the results of the test. The acid produced from these conditions can disguise the air that’s being tested. This would result in a higher Blood Alcohol Content (BAC); meaning, the test would indicate you are more intoxicated than you actually are.
Certain diets, like Atkins, can cause the same effect. If your body is deprived of carbohydrates, it produces ketones, which convert into isopropyl alcohol. A breath test cannot distinguish between this alcohol and the one you consume from drinks.
Challenging Radar/Laser Gun Evidence
Calibration record evidence is one of the quickest ways to challenge radar gun evidence. You see, radar guns are sensitive tools. The manufacturers recommend calibrating it before every use – however, most states will test and calibrate far less frequently that that.
That discrepancy can result in the dismissal of your speeding ticket, as it provides inaccurate readings. Even further, these machines are so delicate that they need to be calibrated using a tuning fork. Some officers don’t do this. If the tuning fork wasn’t used, then it’s another reason for the evidence to be dismissed.
Collision Takes Place Without The Presence of an Officer
Without evidence, it is unlawful to cite someone. This happens too often. A collision occurs, the officer arrives, hears accounts from both drivers and issues a citation. The officer says something like, “Sorry, I have to cite someone.” This is not true.
Further, if the police officer did not witness the accident, and does not have sufficient evidence to cite someone, then he/she cannot testify in court. All the attorney has to ask is, “Officer, did you witness the accident?” Once he says ‘no’, the officer’s testimony can’t really be used against the defendant.
It’s in these cases that we fight aggressively on your behalf. The sloppy procedures of evidence collection shouldn’t result in your life being altered, whether it’s as small as a ticket expense or as detrimental as losing your driving privileges (or even your job).
As a skilled law office, we know how to keep cases from going to court. Our thorough examination process and understanding of incorrectly gathered evidence can prevent it from doing so.
Contact us at the Philbrook Law Offices today if you feel you are in need of expert advice and/or have been unfairly incriminated.