Top 25 Ways To Win A Denver DUI Case
If you are looking at ways to win a Denver DUI case, you should commence with obtaining the services of a professional attorney who has experience in this type of case. In DUI and drunken driving cases in Colorado, a failed breath or sobriety test does not mean that you will automatically lose the case against you. It is up to the prosecution to prove beyond reasonable doubt that you are guilty as charged.
Your attorney will scrutinize the prosecution’s case and find ways to indicate that you were indeed sober at the time stated. There are several issues that could be highlighted by your defense counsel in your Denver DUI case.
- Illegal stopping of the vehicle
- Incorrect field sobriety tests
- Mouth alcohol contamination
- Non-standardized tests
- Booking room videos
- Trial dates
- Blood test contamination
- Unlicensed breath test operator
- Unapproved breath test device
- No observation period
- Testing process errors
- Medical and health issues
- Lactate ringers
- Illegal search
- Insufficient evidence
- Miranda Rights
- Misleading police statements
- Failure to present expert testimony
- Failure to record tests
- Dispatch tapes
- Motor vehicle hearings
- Time constraints
Illegal Vehicle Stopping
A traffic officer is not allowed to stop a driver unless he or she believes that either a traffic or other law has been violated. A traffic officer does not have the right to stop a driver if they have received a tip-off that the driver is drunk. When you weave in the road, without crossing the lines, you are not in violation of traffic law. This is not sufficient reason to be stopped by traffic authorities.
Incorrect Field Sobriety Tests
There are specific procedures for traffic officials to follow as set out in the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. The field sobriety tests have to be explained, administered and scored in a certain manner, according to the code. This particularly applies to the walk and turn test, the one leg stand test and the test for you to follow an item with your eyes, called the horizontal gaze nystagmus test.
Many police officers do not complete these tests in the correct manner and this often gives your attorney an advantage. According to the Safety Administration manual on DUI, the incorrect procedures could render the results of the tests invalid.
Mouth Alcohol Contamination
DUI testing equipment is designed to obtain a sample of the breath from your deep lung tissue, known as alveolar air. It is possible for residual air tinged with alcohol to remain in your mouth for a period of time for various reasons, such as:
- Burping or regurgitating
- Acid reflux or heartburn
- Dental work you may have undergone has trapped food soaked in alcohol between your teeth
Most roadside DUI tests have flaws of varying degrees. There are only three DUI roadside tests that have been approved by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). These are the walk-and-turn, horizontal gaze nystagmus and the one-leg-stand tests. However, police officers often make use of other tests that are not recommended by the NHTSA. In cases where these non-standardized tests are used, your attorney can question the validity thereof.
Booking Room Videos
Many police stations use methods of recording the movements of suspects once they reach the police station. If this recording indicates that your balance is good and your speech clear, it is in direct contrast to what the police have arrested you for. This can be used for your defense to indicate that your behavior at the police station is in stark contradiction to the testimony of the police.
In the State of Colorado, you should be offered a trial date within a period of six months. If this does not occur due to court delays, the charges against you have to be dismissed.
Blood Test Contamination
During the collection, storage and analysis of blood samples, there are several points at which it can become contaminated. The vial that is used to draw the blood has to be pre-treated with a specific level of anti-coagulant and preservative. If this is not done, the blood could ferment once it has been drawn from your body, which allows it to create its own alcohol.
Your attorney should be able to obtain a small amount of your original blood sample and have it tested independently. If the result is different, it will cast doubt on the reliability of the reading.
Unlicensed Breath Test Operator
In Colorado, Breath Test Operators have to possess an unexpired, valid operator’s license. If they do not possess this license, the test results will not be admissible. If there are no valid tests available, chances are that your case will be dismissed.
Unapproved Breath Test Device
Breath-testing equipment that is not listed on the Federal Approved Breath Evidential Instruments and the ISP list of approved devices are not allowed for the purposes of testing during a suspected DUI driver. If the breath test device is not on the approved list, the results will not be admissible during a hearing.
No Observation Period
The law in Colorado states that a driver should be observed continually for a minimum set period of twenty minutes. This should be done before a breath test or the results will be deemed to be invalid and not admissible. If this observation period is not adhered to, your attorney may ask for the results to be disregarded based on that fact.
Testing Process Errors
There is an error range that most toxicology experts believe exists even if the equipment is working properly and the police have administered the tests correctly. This error range is said to be +- .01 to .02 BAC. This is often the case when the reading taken from the equipment is steady at the .08 threshold. Once the error range is taken account of with an individual who had a reading of .08 or .09, they may well have been below the limit allowed.
Medical and Health Issues
If you suffer from certain medical conditions, it may affect the test results. Individuals who suffer from heartburn, acid reflux or GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease) may produce contaminated results. These conditions allow a flow of acid from your stomach into your mouth and if this happens just before or during your DUI test, it disguises the alveolar air that the instrument is supposed to measure. This can produce a high BAC which could be viewed as a false reading.
It has been found that when hospital staff makes use of lactated ringers whilst treating a patient, the blood serum results will be falsely high. This means that the readings will not be valid.
The weather can play a role in whether police believe that you are intoxicated. High winds and low visibility can affect your method of driving or even if you indicate poor balance whilst undergoing the sobriety tests.
Police are prohibited from searching your vehicle or your person if you are pulled over for a minor traffic offense. They are not allowed to search your vehicle without probable cause or your consent. Any evidence that they obtain during this illegal search will not be admissible during court hearings.
Police officers do not have the right to arrest you without ‘probable cause’ that leads them to believe you had been driving under the influence. The officers require evidence to believe that you are guilty of driving whilst drunk.
Your attorney may be able to challenge probable cause for your arrest. If it can be argued that you were coherent and performed well on all the field tests, the judge may agree that your arrest was not valid and certain evidence will be excluded from your case.
Your Miranda Rights are required to be read to you after your arrest or if you are under continual interrogation. In many DUI cases, you will be asked interrogative questions by the police at the time when they stop you on the road, such as how much alcohol you have drunk. In this case there is no need for you to be Mirandized, however the police may continue to interrogate you after the arrest, without reading you your rights. In this case, your attorney will probably be able to have all the post-arrest statements removed as evidence.
Particular diets, such as the Atkins Diet can result in a false high test result. This type of diet could self-produce isopropyl alcohol levels. This is due to the lack of carbohydrates in your body which allows the body to store fat for use as energy. This process allows for the production of ketones. When ketones are eliminated from your body through urine or your breath, it is converted into isopropyl alcohol.
Misleading Police Statements
Misleading statements provided by the police with regard to taking or refusing a breath, urine or blood test will have an impact on the criminal and motor vehicle sections of your case. If the police have provided misleading statements, your attorney can apply to have these suppressed and not admissible in court.
Failure to Present Expert Testimony
In the event that the prosecutor has failed to disclose the expert witnesses of the state, those witnesses will not be able to testify against you in court.
Failure to Record Tests
If the police fail to include the value of the simulator solution that was used to test the breath machines, the results of the driver’s test will not be admissible in court.
Most vehicle stops are recorded on tape, as well as the communication when the police arrest an individual. The preservation of these tapes is important and your attorney can ask to see the recordings. If these tapes are not available for viewing, it may be possible to have all other recordings suppressed.
Drivers who are arrested in Colorado have the choice of taking either a breath test or a blood test. You do have the right to refuse both tests, however, this will affect the term of revocation of your driver’s license. You should receive proper advice from the police officer if you choose to refuse one or both tests. The police officer must inform you of your rights and the potential results of your choice.
Motor Vehicle Hearings
Motor vehicle hearings are separate to the criminal portion of your case. If the results of your breath test is above the 0.08 limit legally allowed, or you refuse to take a breath or blood test, you have to request a motor vehicle hearing within seven days of that date, or your license will be revoked automatically.
If you submit to a blood test, the DMV will contact you via postal mail to offer advice regarding your right and the deadline for you to request a DMV hearing.
A Depart of Motor Vehicles hearing has to be scheduled within 60 days of the date that you requested the hearing. If this is not adhered to, the DMV loses jurisdiction over the entire matter at hand.
As is evident, there are several manners in which you can win a Denver DUI case. You can call sobriety witnesses to state that you were driving in a competent fashion and that you were alert. This will help you paint a very different picture to what the police are trying to prove.
To allow for your attorney to give you accurate advice and aid in possible inadmissibility of the evidence against you, it is vital that you are open and honest with him or her.