A Skilled Virginia DUI Lawyer Can Help
Finding ways to challenge the evidence brought against you by law enforcement and the prosecution is one of the most important actions a competent DUI defense attorney can take to help you fight charges. By doing so, you may be able to avoid a costly conviction. This is key to any DUI / DWI case in Virginia and is why it is imperative to seek the legal representation of a lawyer who is experienced in this complex area of law. DUI defense work involves an in-depth understanding of all of the legal, scientific, technical, and even medical issues which can impact your case and which can present opportunities for your attorney to challenge evidence, making it inadmissible in the process.
How evidence is found, gathered, and processed are all areas which can and should be investigated, from the initial incident where you are pulled over by law enforcement on suspicion of impaired driving to what details about your appearance or your conduct caused the officer to conduct field sobriety tests, to how those tests were administered, including whether you were properly advised of your rights, as well as how any chemical tests were done.
Points Which May be Challenged
Beginning with the initial stop by law enforcement, the officer must have a valid reason which can be articulated as why you were pulled over. This must be based on “reasonable suspicion.” After this, the officer must have probable cause for arresting you, generally based on such evidence as your driving behavior, your conduct or demeanor, a preliminary breath test, or your failure to pass field sobriety tests. If enough evidence does not exist to warrant probable cause, then the remaining “evidence” following the arrest may be considered invalid.
In the matter of field sobriety tests, these must be conducted according to standard protocol. Where improperly done, the results may be challenged. Field sobriety tests in general have been called into question in many studies, where law enforcement “results” as to the sobriety or intoxication of an individual has been shown to be mere opinion and often wrong. Furthermore, many health and medical conditions can impact these tests as well as roadside conditions, surfaces, and weather.
Finally, chemical tests, such as breath and blood tests, are not infallible. Improper administration, faulty equipment which has not been properly maintained or calibrated, and even human error can result in evidence which may become inadmissible. Furthermore, you must be advised of your right to refuse a chemical test. Failure to follow proper procedure in this matter on the part of law enforcement and testing personnel is an important defense factor.