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Common Defenses Used in Drunk Driving Cases

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Common Defenses Used in Drunk Driving Cases

If you have ever been pulled over for drinking and driving, you have likely been scared. After all, Michigan has serious consequences for drunk drivers. You cannot afford the fine. You cannot be without a driver’s license. So, what do you do now?

You get legal help. Just because police accuse you of Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) does not mean you have to accept the charges and punishment. You fight them. There are many defenses you can use in drunk driving cases. 

Illegal Traffic Stop

There must be reasonable suspicion involved when police pull over a vehicle. They cannot simply pull over any vehicle they wish. They must have evidence that the driver is or is about to commit a crime.

A police officer can justify a traffic stop if the driver is speeding or has run a red light. They cannot justify a traffic stop because the car looked old or they did not like the looks of the driver.

Inaccurate Instrumentation

Michigan and all other states have administrative rules about how a breath testing device should be maintained to maintain its accuracy. For example, Breathalyzers should be maintained, calibrated, and frequently checked for accuracy. Also, the police officers must receive proper training on how to administer the test.

Improper Specimen Collection/Preservation

In some cases, a person must provide a blood sample to check for intoxication. The blood sample needs to be collected properly. If the blood is not collected by a licensed person or if it is contaminated, then the sample is considered unreliable.

Also, once the blood sample has been taken, it must be delivered to the lab as soon as possible. If it is not refrigerated in time, it could become contaminated and inaccurate.

Medical Condition

Sometimes high blood alcohol content (BAC) can be caused by medical conditions. For example, someone with diabetes may have acetone in their blood. This can transfer into the lungs and make it seem as though the person is intoxicated because acetone and alcohol cannot be distinguished by the Breathalyzer. 

The same applies to Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), in which alcohol from a person’s stomach may interfere with alcohol in the breath. The two may be combined to create a high BAC.

Operation of the Vehicle

In order to be charged with OWI, the person must be operating the vehicle, but what exactly does this mean? This means the person must be in actual physical control of a vehicle. So when a drunk person is sleeping in their vehicle, can they be arrested for OWI? Most likely, no, because they are not operating the vehicle. They are using it as a shelter. 

Contact Our Michigan Criminal Defense Attorneys

If you have been pulled over for drunk driving, do not despair. With the right defense, you can reduce or even eliminate your charges. 

The Michigan criminal defense lawyers at Lucido & Manzella, P.C. will aggressively defend your OWI case. We will help you understand your legal rights. Schedule a consultation with your office today. Fill out the online form or call (586) 228-3900.

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