Being charged for driving under the influence of alcohol can completely disrupt a person's life. At a moment's notice, a person may suddenly have to worry about the possibility of jail time, thousands of dollars worth of fines, losing the ability to drive and facing professional repercussions.
After being charged by law enforcement, an accused individual may assume that conviction is basically a guarantee. However, the reality is that options to challenge the charges may still be available -- even if police collected blood or breath test evidence.
In an article published on our firm's website, we discussed a couple common strategies for defending against drunk driving charges. Basic protections against unlawful searches or seizures are critical in any criminal case, and drunk driving is no different. At the same time, police rely heavily on breath tests to build a case. The reality is that there may be issues with the breath-test device used by police officers, which could cast serious doubt on the accuracy and reliability of results.
There is another equally important evidence-related defense that wasn't included in the article. If police have a blood sample that supposedly shows a blood-alcohol concentration above the 0.08 percent limit, it may seem rather definitive. However, police must demonstrate that blood evidence was handled properly by providing chain of custody documentation. Without this documentation in place, there is a chance that blood evidence could have been tampered with or contaminated.
By carefully examining the evidence provided in a case, defendants may be able to cast doubt on the accusations made by law enforcement. When the validity of critical evidence isn't verifiable, then a person cannot be found guilty beyond any reasonable doubt.