Each case will have its own unique defense. Of course, in its simplest form, a defense is the reason the jury will find you not guilty. You want an overarching theory of your case which ultimately leads the jury to the conclusion that you are not guilty. Maybe it is as simple as saying the officer lied, but the truth is usually much more complex than that.

Your theory might be complex, but you should also be able to boil it down into a newspaper headline such as “Sleep-deprived driver crashes into tree and is arrested on suspicion of DUI.” In this example, your defense is that you were exhausted and fell asleep. Therefore, the alcohol/drugs played no role in the accident. You are also attacking the state’s case for being based on suspicions, not facts. The officer made assumptions. Instead of fully investigating the cause of the accident, the officer did a sham investigation and made a quick arrest.

Throughout the case, you will take every chance you can get to highlight facts and circumstances that support your theory of the case. Each case will have good facts and bad facts. You cannot ignore the bad facts; you must address them head on. Then focus on the good facts to drive home your theory of the case. For example, if you look bad on field sobriety, then you will want to highlight how good you were driving. You will need to explain that you did poorly on field sobriety because you are uncoordinated, have a prior injury etc. If you are more than 50 pounds overweight or are over 65 years old, the tests are no longer validated, meaning that the results should be highly scrutinized. You will then bring the jury’s attention to the fact that if we are concerned about someone’s ability to drive, then their actual driving should carry much more weight than their ability to stand on one leg etc.

Oftentimes, we will not be contesting the underlying ticket if the offense is obvious. For instance, do not waste time and hurt your credibility trying to argue you did not fail to maintain lane when your vehicle clearly crossed over the line. Instead, focus on the big picture. You can explain away a failure to maintain lane for hundreds of different reasons such as dropping your phone, crying after a breakup, looking at GPS for directions etc. Even if you are admitting to a hands-free violation on your phone, it is much better than being found guilty of DUI. So, unless there is a particular reason for contesting an otherwise obvious offense, do not lose credibility fighting a losing battle. Instead, focus on the big picture and point out all the driving violations you did not commit and how safely you pulled your vehicle over after the officer initiated their blue lights.

If you have a chemical test which shows your BAC was over the legal limit, then you will need to find a reason why the test is inaccurate. In sum, if there was a bad accident or driving, then argue that you were distracted or just a bad driver, anything to break the causal connection that the alcohol or drugs were the reason for the poor driving or accident. Poor performance on field sobriety testing may mean you just have bad balance coordination, you are nervous, you are on the side of the road being stopped by the police officer, etc. If your BAC is close to 0.08 then you can argue that the test was just improperly calibrated. If your BAC was very high, then you will need to essentially argue that the testing was affected by some outside factors, or your sample was messed up somewhere in the chain of custody.

It obviously helps to look good on video so you can argue to the jury that the BAC result is so high, yet you look so good on video, therefore, the BAC must be incorrect. These are a few broad examples. There is a defense to every case, but a strong defense usually requires at least good driving or decent performance on field sobriety. If you have bad driving and bad field sobriety, then you could argue that there was a medical issue that caused you to appear impaired. If you have bad driving, bad field sobriety and a chemical test showing a high BAC or presence of drugs, then there still may be a defense. We just need to think outside the box and be willing to push the limits.

For more information on DUI Law in Georgia, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you seek by calling (470) 728-1725 today.

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Carl Chapman
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