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How can I defend against drunk driving charges?

Getting pulled over for a DUI can be scary and overwhelming. However, a DUI arrest does not necessarily mean that you will be convicted. If you are facing DUI charges, there are many defenses potentially available to you that can protect you from long-term, serious consequences.

There are a few DUI defenses that are used in Virginia drunk driving cases. The most common defense involves alleging that the initial traffic stop made by the officer was improper. In order for a traffic stop to be valid, the officer must have had probable cause to make the stop. If there was no probable cause, the stop and the arrest may be considered invalid.

Other common defenses include questioning the administration of the field sobriety test and/or Breathalyzer test. If you are pulled over for a DUI, the officer may administer field sobriety tests on the scene, such as the horizontal gaze nystagmus test, which can help determine whether you are under the influence of alcohol. The officer also may require you to take a Breathalyzer test to measure your blood alcohol content. If the breath test device is not calibrated properly or well-maintained, the results may be inadmissible. The officer also must have conducted these tests appropriately and must have been trained properly.

Another common defense involves the claim that your blood alcohol content was below the legal limit when you were driving, but increased between the time of the traffic stop and the time the Breathalyzer was administered. This is a possibility when alcohol was consumed recently and had not been completely absorbed by the body.

In many DUI cases, there is at least one defense that is applicable. That one defense can mean the difference between living a normal life and facing license suspension, fines and jail time.

Source: FindLaw, "Defenses to Drunk Driving," accessed March 23, 2015

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