DUI Charge: What Are Some Valid Defenses For One?

Many of our clients need a Las Vegas car accident attorney because they believe they received an unfair DUI charge. And, in our experience, this is quite possible. Devices used to test alcohol in breath or in blood are not 100% accurate. The police officer who stopped you may have not followed the procedure correctly. Or various aspects may invalidate the case the state of Nevada has against you.

However, you should not start challenging your charges on your own. You may read various articles online and believe that you know how to fight a DUI charge. Unfortunately, many of these articles are full of inaccurate information, which may hurt your case and get you a DUI conviction instead of a dismissal of the charge. This is why you should rely on the reliable advice of car accident lawyers in Nevada at the Christian Morris Trial Attorneys law firm. We will build the best possible defense, using every one should piece of evidence that may exonerate you.

Understanding Nevada Laws for DUI

Nevada Revised Statutes 484C.020 specifies that driving under influence (DUI) is defined as driving a motor vehicle with blood alcohol content (BAC) which exceeds 0.08%. This means more than 0.08 gram of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood.

However, the DUI charge is the general term two separate offences:

  1. DUI – driving under influence
  2. DWI – driving while intoxicated.

As your Las Vegas car accident attorney will explain to you, DWI also covers cases when a driver is intoxicated or impaired by various prohibited substances, including:

  • Amphetamine
  • Cocaine
  • Heroin
  • LSD
  • Marijuana
  • Methamphetamine.

How Can a Lawyer Defend a DUI Charge Successfully?

Car accident lawyers in Nevada can identify many flaws in the way your case was handled by the police officer who pulled you over or by other law enforcement staff who contributed to the DUI charge issued against you.

While each case is unique, here are some of the frequent successful defenses we use against a DUI charge:

1. You Were Not in Control of the Vehicle

In other states, you can get a DUI charge even if you are sleeping in your car, parked in your driveway, after a night of partying. Fortunately, this is not true in Nevada. NRS 484C.109 clearly specifies cases when it is “evident that the person could not have driven the vehicle”. These situations include:

  • When the person is asleep inside the vehicle
  • When the person is not in the driver’s seat
  • When the vehicle engine is not running
  • When the vehicle is lawfully parked.

If you got a DUI charge from an over-zealous police officer in any of these circumstances, your Las Vegas car accident attorney can easily get it dismissed.

2. The Officer Did Not Give the Field Sobriety Test Properly

A DUI charge can be issued after a field sobriety test that does not follow the standards set by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The approved tests include:

  • Horizontal gaze nystagmus test (following a stimulus with your eyes)
  • Standing on one leg
  • Walking and turning.

Unfortunately, many police officers are not properly trained in giving the tests and observing the results. In some cases, they add various other actions which a fully sober person with a less than optimal level of fitness would not be able to perform.

3. There Was No Probable Cause for Being Pulled Over

This is a myth among many drivers who received an unfair DUI charge: that a police officer can signal a car to stop absolutely randomly. This is not true. Unless there is a checkpoint for a specific situation, a police officer must have probable cause to stop a vehicle.

This means that the officer must observe you doing one of the following:

  • Commit a traffic violation
  • Drive in an erratic and incompetent manner.

This probable cause must appear in the initial report the police officer issues at the moment when you were pulled over. If it does not exist or you can challenge it with evidence, then we can get the DUI charge dropped.

4. The Breathalyzer Device Is Inaccurate

Law enforcement officers in Nevada use a device called Intoxilyzer 5000 to measure alcohol in the deep lung tissue. However, this device can get inaccurate readings from various causes, such as:

  • Use of cold medicine, dentures and the existence of periodontal problems
  • Burping or regurgitating
  • Heartburn and acid reflux.

In many situations, drivers who knew that they drank only a little and should have a legal BAC level get a DUI charge. The reason for this is that inaccurate breathalyzer readings can be even three times higher than the actual BAC level.

5. You May Fail a Field Sobriety Test for Non-Alcohol Reasons

In some cases, a police officer notes that you failed the field sobriety test and issues a DUI charge without taking your BAC level. In reality, the reasons why you failed the test have nothing to do with alcohol consumption.

In our experience as car accident lawyers in Nevada, many clients got their DUI charge overturned, because in reality:

  • They performed the test on a slippery surface
  • They were wearing improper footwear (high heeled shoes, hard soled shoes, etc.)
  • They were tired, injured, overweight or elderly
  • They felt intimidated by the police officer.

6. The Blood Sample Can Get Contaminated

One of the first things a Las Vegas car accident attorney will do is ask for a portion of your original blood sample for independent retesting. The standard practice in collecting a blood sample is to add a specific amount of preservative and anticoagulant substances to the vial before blood is drawn. Otherwise, it may ferment and give inaccurate readings.

On several occasions, we found deviations from this procedure or negligence in handling the sample leading to its contamination. Thus, we can get the client’s DUI charge dropped.

7. You Were Not Read the Miranda Rights

You know the standard words from movies: “You have the right to remain silent….” If you do not hear them from the police officer at the moment of your arrest, then your Miranda rights are violated.

This violation is a very huge issue in case – civil or criminal – across the US and it can lead to the complete dismissal of the charges. The reality is simple: just like you have a duty to obey the laws, the authorities have a duty to follow procedures and respect your rights.

Bring Your Case to a Dedicated Car Accident Law Firm in Las Vegas!

At Christian Morris Trial Attorneys, we know that a DUI charge is a very serious issue. It can have a negative impact on your life lasting for years. This is why we are here to help you fight an unfair DUI charge. We will listen to your version of the event and collect all the evidence we can find to prepare your defense.

We work on a contingency fee basis – which means that you do not have to pay any upfront fees for legal advice and representation. Contact us as soon after your accident to schedule an initial appointment: (702) 434-8282!