Drunk driving charges are serious. Even first-time defendants can face stiff fines, suspended driving privileges and, perhaps, time behind bars. The penalties get much harsher for repeat offenders. With all this at stake, it is important to be familiar with defense strategies. When facing drunk driving charges, there are two different types of defenses which fall into two separate categories.
Affirmative defenses include necessity, duress, entrapment, mistake of fact and involuntary intoxication. Accused individuals should be familiar with these defenses and whether they apply to their circumstances. It is important to note that if police fail to follow procedures required for the protection of accused individuals, or violate the rights of accused individuals, this may form the basis of a drunk driving defense.
In some circumstances, the police may have engaged in an improper stop because they lacked probable cause to pull the accused individual over. In other circumstances, a field sobriety test may have been improperly administered. Additionally, the administration of the breathalyzer test may be challenged if it was not properly calibrated or maintained; the police officer administering it was not properly trained to administer it; or if there was another reason that it may not be valid.
If authorities have failed to protect the rights of accused individuals or a challenge should be made related to police conduct, it is important to have a strong criminal defense strategy. Drunk driving charges can up-end the lives of accused individuals, which is why they should always be familiar with their criminal defense rights and options.