There may be several types of evidence that are needed for an individual in drunk driving/DUI/DWI court, depending on the type of case or charge they are facing. Examples of evidence that will likely be required in most cases includes:
- The individual’s driver’s license, if they have one;
- Other identifying information, such as a birth certificate or Social Security card;
- A police report documenting an accident, if one occurred;
- A police report documenting an incident, if one occurred;
- The individual’s prior criminal history, if they have one;
- Dashcam footage of the traffic stop, if available; and
- Eyewitness accounts of the accident or incident.
An attorney will know best how to handle video evidence in court, witnesses in court, and all types of medical evidence in court. All of these types of evidence may be admitted in the form of dashcam or other footage of the incident, eyewitness testimony, and blood alcohol content testing.
For example, if an individual does not have any prior criminal charges on their record, they will likely receive a more lenient sentence. However, if they have been convicted of driving under the influence before or multiple times, their sentence may be more severe.
It is important to note that, in criminal cases, the prosecution has the burden of proving that the defendant committed the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. This means that a defendant will be tasked with presenting evidence that disproves or undermines the prosecution’s evidence against them.
How Will This Evidence Make My Drunk Driving Case Stronger?
If a defendant can present evidence that rebuts the claims of the prosecution, their case will be made stronger and they may be able to avoid a conviction. Although an individual may be able to try and go up against the prosecution on their own, a trained lawyer will be best equipped to fight the charges.
It is important for a defendant to have legal representation during these types of cases, as they can have a lasting effect on their criminal record and the rest of their lives. A conviction involving drunk driving can not only cause an individual to have a criminal record, it can prevent them from obtaining certain jobs or working in certain job fields.
A lawyer will know how to challenge the arguments of the prosecution and what evidence will be best suited for that purpose. They will know the nuances of DUI/DWI laws in the state and how to use them to a defendant’s advantage.
An attorney may also be able to negotiate with the prosecution to have the defendant’s charges reduced or even dropped.
How to File Evidence in Criminal or Traffic Court
Issues involving evidence in criminal cases are often complicated and require the help of a lawyer. Although a defendant may represent themselves, it can be difficult and their chances of success are often slim.
A lawyer will be able to examine the defendant’s unique case and determine which, if any, defenses can be presented and what evidence will be needed to support those defenses. This is especially true of the defenses that involve field sobriety testing and blood alcohol content testing.
What If This Is Not Accepted by the Courts as Evidence?
There are certain types of evidence that are not admissible in a court of law. A lawyer will be aware of the rules of evidence and how to have evidence that supports the defendant admitted.
A lawyer will also prepare the case before the trial or hearing to ensure that they have the proper admissible evidence. In addition, they will also prepare alternate evidence just in case, for some reason, their primary evidence is not admitted by the court.
This is a special skill that attorneys are trained in and are best equipped to handle. In addition, an attorney will know if there are exceptions to rules that may allow evidence to be admitted, such as hearsay exceptions.
What Are the Affirmative Defenses to a DUI Charge?
When an individual is facing a DUI/DWI charge, there are several defenses they may be able to present, including:
- Necessity: This defense may be used in cases where the driver had to operate the vehicle because of an overriding issue or emergency, such as taking a spouse to the hospital;
- Duress: This defense may be used when the defendant was forced to operate the the vehicle because of the threat of force or use of force by another individual;
- Entrapment: A defendant may use the defense of entrapment if a law enforcement officer, such as an undercover officer, encourages the driver to become intoxicated;
- Mistake of fact: This defense applies when the defendant genuinely believed they were not intoxicated; and
- Involuntary intoxication: A defendant may claim involuntary intoxication if they unknowingly consumed alcohol.
What Are Other Common Defenses Used in DUI Cases?
In addition to the affirmative defenses discussed above, there are also other common defenses that may be used in DUI cases, including
- Improper stop: Defense attorneys often argue that the initial stop by the officer lacked probable cause and was, therefore, invalid;
- Accuracy of field sobriety test (FST): The validity of the FST depends on its accurate administration;
- The horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN) test, which detects eye movements related to intoxication, is often challenged;
Accuracy of portable breathalyzer test: Defense attorneys may challenge the test based on intervening factors such as indigestion or vomiting and whether the test was properly conducted;
- Accuracy of standard breathalyzer test: This test is typically administered after the arrest at the police station;
- Chain of custody of blood test: This defense considers whether the blood test was tampered with; and
- Rising blood alcohol concentration: This defense is related to recent alcohol consumption and whether the blood alcohol level had reached the prohibited level at the time of the arrest.
It is important to note that, in some states, an individual may be charged with DUI even if a vehicle is not in motion, as long as they have physical control over the vehicle. Although a defendant may attempt to present one or more of these defenses in court themselves, an attorney will have the knowledge and experience to present them most effectively.
Can You Challenge Law Enforcement Conduct in Court?
Yes, a defendant can challenge law enforcement conduct in court. This is best handled by an attorney who will know the procedures law enforcement officers are required to follow.
A law enforcement officer must have probable cause to stop a vehicle. If they did not, any evidence that was obtained may be inadmissible.
This officer must also reasonably believe that the defendant violated DUI or DWI laws. This is typically done by observation of the driver’s behavior in addition to sobriety tests.
Once an individual has been arrested, law enforcement must recite their Miranda rights before questioning begins. In addition, if an officer fails to provide other necessary warnings or information, it may affect the admissibility of the sobriety tests.
For example, if an individual refuses to take a chemical test, their driver’s license can be suspended. If the officer did not inform them of these possible consequences, their test results may not be admissible.
It can be difficult to defend against a law enforcement officer’s observations, as they are typically seen as trained and honest individuals. There may be other evidence, however, such as an eyewitness who shares a different account of the events that led up to the DUI or DWI arrest.
It is always best to have a knowledgeable attorney handle evidence involving law enforcement testimony, as they will know the right questions to ask in the most respectful manner possible.
How Can a Lawyer Help Me With My Evidence?
If you have been arrested for or charged with a DUI or DWI, it is essential to consult with a DUI lawyer as soon as you can so they can begin gathering and preparing evidence in your case. A lawyer will know exactly where to look and who to ask to find the best evidence for your defense.
It is especially important to hire an attorney if you believe your rights as a driver were violated or if law enforcement officers engaged in misconduct. Your attorney will help you navigate the legal process and present the best evidence in your DUI case.