Police Make Mistakes. Those Mistakes Can Make For Powerful Defenses.
Being arrested for DUI can be a frightening experience. If you recently found yourself in the back of a squad car accused of drunk driving on the streets of Colorado Springs, it may be your first interaction with the El Paso County criminal justice system. That system – police, prosecutors, and the law itself – will run full steam to prosecute you and obtain your conviction for DUI. I see this first-hand every day as a DUI defense attorney. But I also saw it when I sought to convict drunk drivers as a DUI prosecutor in El Paso and Teller Counties.
I know from being on both sides of these cases that no matter how grim a situation may look, no matter how much it may seem that prosecutors have you dead to rights, there are almost always ways to fight the charges.
However, fighting and defeating DUI charges in Colorado Springs is not a do-it-yourself task. Colorado law is nuanced and complicated, and the procedures and rules that govern criminal cases are strict and detailed. If you try to represent yourself against DUI charges instead of hiring an experienced Colorado Springs DUI lawyer to defend you, don’t expect prosecutors or the judge to go easy on you when it becomes clear that you don’t know what you’re doing. That includes not knowing what defenses are available to you and how to assert those defenses in court.
As set forth below, there are several viable defenses to DUI charges. But don’t mistake this blog post for a seasoned criminal defense lawyer after being arrested for DUI. Proving the following defenses requires the expertise, knowledge, and advocacy skills that only an experienced DUI lawyer can provide.
Related: What Are the Typical Punishments For A First-Time DUI In Colorado?
Problems With The Traffic Stop
The circumstances surrounding why and how you were arrested for DUI might provide you with a powerful defense against the charges. Colorado Springs Police cannot pull you over unless they have a lawful reason to do so. If an officer lawfully pulled you over for a simple traffic violation like speeding, improper lane change, or running a red light, the officer does not automatically have the right to test your blood alcohol content. Before they can legally administer such a test, the officer must have a reasonable suspicion that you are driving impaired, such as a visible open container of alcohol, slurred speech, or glassy eyes.
If the stop was improper, an El Paso County judge could find that everything following the stop, including breathalyzer results, was “fruit from the poisonous tree.” This legal principle means that an illegal traffic stop can be the domino that knocks the prosecutors’ whole case down.
The Arresting Officer Violated Your Miranda Rights
If an officer asks you questions designed to solicit incriminating statements after you are arrested for DUI (called a “custodial interrogation”), they must first inform you of your constitutional rights. You’ve undoubtedly seen cops in movies and on TV read suspects their Miranda rights (“You have the right to remain silent…”) a thousand times. If Colorado Springs Police do not advise you of your Miranda rights before questioning you, the presiding judge in your case may hold that any admissions or incriminating statements you made in the absence of such notice are inadmissible as evidence and may invalidate the breathalyzer test evidence as well.
Challenging Breathalyzer and Other Test Results
Like all technology, breathalyzers can malfunction and not work as they should. The same is true for police officers, who can and do make mistakes when administering tests to determine a driver’s blood alcohol content. Such errors can form the basis of a successful DUI defense when they create doubt about the reliability or admissibility of breathalyzer evidence.
Judges can disregard and exclude evidence of dubious accuracy or reliability. Several factors can taint the reliability of breathalyzer test results. These include improper test administration, inadequate calibration and maintenance of the device, and external and biological factors. A tenacious Colorado Springs DUI defense lawyer can challenge the admissibility of breathalyzer evidence by casting doubt on one or more of the following:
- Timing of the breathalyzer test
- Qualifications, experience, and training of the test administrator
- Calibration, maintenance, and testing of the breathalyzer
- Procedures followed when administering the test
- Chain of custody of test samples
- Possibility of contaminated samples
- Independent biological factors that may affect blood alcohol readings, including naturally occurring “mouth alcohol,” acid reflux, diet, and breathing patterns
Arrested For DUI In Colorado Springs? Turn To Experienced DUI Attornies For Aggressive Defense Against The Charges.
The best Colorado Springs DUI attorneys will use the experience and insights they acquired as former DUI prosecutors to defend individuals facing DUI charges. Forceful and skilled advocates, our criminal defense attorneys look for every possible weakness in the prosecution’s case, placing their clients in the best possible position to obtain an acquittal, dismissal, or reduction of the charges.