Challenging DUI Evidence
Evidence may be described as certain information, including witness testimony, documents, physical objects or records, provided to the court or jury in legal proceedings as proof of the matter at hand. In a criminal case, both the prosecution and the defense may present evidence in an attempt to prove their side of the story. Along with opening and closing statements, the presentation of evidence (including the examination and cross-examination of witnesses) makes up the main part of a criminal trial. After all evidence is heard in a case, the judge or jury will make a ruling on the matter and the judge will determine the sentence, if any, to be imposed.
In a criminal case involving an alleged DUI (driving under the influence) offense, the evidence presented against a defendant will primarily include the testimony of the arresting officer, the result of a breath test or
blood test administered after the defendant's arrest and any other relevant physical evidence, such as an open container of alcohol recovered from the vehicle. By challenging this evidence from every possible angle, an experienced
DUI defense attorney may be able to successfully assist a defendant in avoiding a conviction – or even securing a dismissal of all charges.
Evidence Used Against a Defendant?
Physical evidence and witness testimony are the two main types of evidence that will be used in a DUI case. Physical evidence may include the outcome of a breath or blood test that showed a blood alcohol concentration of .08% or greater, above the legal limit to operate a motor vehicle in California. It may also include any physical objects relevant to the case at hand, such as an open container of alcohol that was discovered in the vehicle, photographs of an accident that was allegedly caused by a drunk driver or police reports. Witness testimony will usually include the testimony of the officer that made the arrest. He or she may testify regarding the behavior that caused the initial police stop, statements made by the driver after the stop, performance on field sobriety tests and any other observations.
Though the odds may seem stacked against you when the prosecuting attorney has physical evidence and the testimony of a law enforcement officer to try to secure a conviction, there is much that a competent lawyer may be able to do to challenge this evidence. With physical evidence, a mistake or violation of procedure or your rights may give your attorney grounds to file a motion to suppress said evidence from the trial. With the officer's testimony, a strategic cross-examination may reveal that the officer was mistaken or violated procedure, violated your rights in an
illegal search and seizure, or that his or her testimony should not be relied upon as proof of guilt. There are various ways to approach these matters, when looking to fight allegations of driving under the influence.