If you were recently arrested and charged with driving under the influence, or DUI, in the State of Nebraska you are likely concerned about the outcome of your case and the potential penalties that could follow if you are convicted. Being concerned is certainly wise as both the judicial and non-judicial consequences of a DUI conviction can be far-reaching and long-lasting. The good news is that you may have a defense that will prevent you from being convicted, meaning you don’t have to worry about the consequences. Only an experienced Nebraska DUI defense attorney can evaluate the unique facts and circumstances of your case and decide if you have a viable defense; however, it may help you to feel a bit less concerned to learn about the following 5 DUI defense strategies that are commonly used to avoid a conviction:
- Illegal stop – contrary to what most people believe, a law enforcement officer actually does have to have a valid, and articulable, reasons for stopping your vehicle in the first place. The original reason for the stop can be for a minor traffic infraction that later turned into a DU stop; however, the initial reason for the stop must exist. If the officer cannot successfully convince a judge that there was a reason for the original stop then everything that occurred after that is inadmissible.
- Field sobriety tests – the results of field sobriety tests administered in the field are typically not admissible to prove you were driving under the influence. The results may, however, have been used to provide the probable cause necessary to arrest you. Because the tests are very subjective in nature, and most officers lack the requisite training to perform the tests properly, they are often easy to get set aside.
- Rising alcohol defense – because of the way in which alcohol metabolizes in your system, it is possible for you to blow a much higher blood alcohol concentration (BAC) result than what was actually in your system at the time you were driving. If, for example, you drank a couple of shops of alcohol and drank a beer right before you go in your vehicle to drive home, you might actually be fine while driving because the alcohol has not had time to integrate into your system. After being pulled over, subjected to field sobriety tests and questioning, and arrested, the BAC level has risen, causing you to blow over the legal limit when tested BUT you BAC level would not have been that high when you were driving.
- Malfunctioning breath test machine – despite what many people believe, breath test machines are far from perfect. In fact, they often have a margin of error that would shock most people. In order for a breath test machine to work as close to accurately as possible, however, it must have been properly calibrated and maintained recently and the operator must know how to use the machine. If any of those factors is absent the test results might not be admissible.
- Technicalities – this one is sort of a “catch all” category in that is can refer to a number of different situations. When the police conduct an investigation, including a DUI investigation, they are required to follow very strict procedures. These procedures apply to the manner in which they conduct the investigation as well as the manner in which they handle evidence. The prosecutor is also required to follow procedures when introducing evidence at a trial. If any of those procedures are not followed, it can present a valid defense for the defendant. For instance, if a blood test was administered and they failed to follow the proper chain of custody for the results, the results could be excluded from trial.
As you can see, there are potential DUI defenses that could be available to you if you are currently facing a DUI charge in Nebraska. The key to any defense is to retain the services of an experienced Nebraska DUI attorney as soon after your arrest as possible.