Many Colorado drivers do not realize that DUI is a defensible charge. There is a number of good and valid reasons a person who would not otherwise drive while intoxicated may do so, and that may cause the charges to be reduced or even dismissed. While every DUI case is different, it is possible to successfully defend against a DUI and avoid fines, jail time and other potential consequences.
One of the most popular defenses is to question whether a portable or standard breath test device was properly calibrated and used by certified personnel. Questioning the validity of the stop or whether the officer had legitimate probable cause is another. Challenging a field sobriety test, including the eye test, which is purported to check for involuntarily eye movements associated with intoxicated persons, is also a commonly used defense.
Affirmative defenses to a DUI charge include doing so out of necessity, such as attempting to get an injured friend to a hospital. Driving under duress is another, such as to escape from life-threatening circumstances. Entrapment is where a police officer orders an intoxicated person to drive. A person who is taking certain medications but believes with good reason that the effects have worn off may use a “mistake of fact” defense. Finally, ingesting alcohol without one’s knowledge is involuntary intoxication.
As a prelude to a DUI defense, an attorney might consider any facts or mitigating circumstances that may ameliorate the charges, including the defenses listed above or improper actions by law enforcement. Depending upon the facts of the case, the attorney may recommend a plea bargain, which allows for probation rather than harsher penalties. The attorney may also file an appeal if the court’s sentence is not commensurate with the facts.