Pleading Not Guilty to DUI Charges
Santa Rosa DUI Attorney Blog. Pleading not guilty to DUI charges. Many people facing DUI charges believe they have no option but to plead guilty to a DUI and face the consequences. However, there are many ways to show your innocence in a DUI case and an experienced DUI defense attorney can help you present evidence in your favor. The following are two common ways that an attorney can contest DUI allegations:
The DUI testing was not accurate. A prosecutor may present evidence that you were intoxicated based on three different kinds of testing: Breathalyzer test, roadside sobriety tests, or a blood test. All of these test results may be challenged in several ways. For example, if a police officer did not perform your roadside test in the appropriate manner or did not have proper training regarding the test, the results may be questionable. Furthermore, there could have been a failure to properly maintain a Breathalyzer testing device which must be properly calibrated and operated in order to yield accurate results. The test must also be performed within a certain amount of time of the accident or traffic stop. For a blood test, the forensic lab must process the blood sample correctly in order for the evidence to be conclusive. If the lab made any mistakes, your attorney will question the accuracy of the results.
There was another explanation for your behavior. Many DUI cases rest largely on an officer’s testimony that you acted impaired. However, many people may take medications that can cause similar behavior. Additionally, people who are feeling ill or overly tired may also seem like they may be under the influence when they are actually sober.
Pleading Not Guilty to DUI Charges
Take for example the case of former San Francisco firefight Michael Quinn. In 2013, Michael Quinn was suspected of operating a fire truck while under the influence of alcohol and then colliding with a motorcyclist. The motorcyclist suffered serious injuries. Quinn resigned from the fire department in November 2013 and while the District Attorney of San Francisco did not originally pursue charges, a grand jury ended up indicting Quinn on three separate charges:
- Driving under the influence of alcohol;
- Driving under the influence of alcohol and causing bodily injury; and
- Operating a commercial vehicle above the legal limit of .04% blood alcohol content (BAC).
In early May, Quinn pled “not guilty” to all three charges, as he maintains he was not under the influence of alcohol at the time of the accident and in March of 2015 a Judge tossed out all charges against him. According to the article, the judge in this case dismissed (2) breathalyzer tests because the Fire Department failed to properly maintain, test and calibrate the equipment. A blood test result of 0.11 taken approximately 6.5 hours after the accident was also thrown out. According to the article, it was thrown out as without the earlier breathalyzer tests in evidence, the delay meant that police had no way of determining if the firefighter had been drinking before the accident or while he was not in custody after the accident. Another similar article indicates that the blood test was thrown out because Quinn was told he HAD to submit to a blood test which is not the case.
As you can see, there are possible defenses to DUI charges in California. However, prosecutors and law enforcement officials will generally automatically assume you are guilty. Therefore, you should always have an experienced DUI defense attorney on your side who is willing to investigate your case, protect your rights and present evidence of your innocence. If you are facing DUI charges in Sonoma County, Mendocino County or Lake County California, do not hesitate to contact the Santa Rosa DUI office of Beck Law P.C. for assistance with your case.