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8 DUI Defenses That Are Often Overlooked (But Can Actually Help You Avoid Criminal Charges)

Okabe & Haushalter Dec 27, 2018 DUI

If you are represented by an experienced DUI defense attorney Los Angeles, your likelihood of avoiding criminal charges for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs increases substantially.

A skilled defense lawyer can help you avoid a DUI conviction not only because he or she has fundamental knowledge about how California’s criminal justice system works, but also because your defense attorney knows what criminal defense strategy will work best in your particular case.

We invited our Los Angeles DUI defense attorney from Okabe & Haushalter to spell out some of the most effective yet commonly overlooked DUI defenses, which you should definitely consider if you want to avoid being charged with a crime for operating a vehicle while intoxicated.

The arresting police officer was no expert in conducting the HGN test

Suppression of testimony of the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) test conducted by non-experts.

When a police officer is investigating you for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs during a DUI stop, he or she will shine a penlight or flashlight into your eyes to look for signs of nystagmus, also known as an involuntary jerking of the eye (which is one of the most common symptoms of alcohol impairment).

“Many of those arrested for DUI do not realize that they can throw out the evidence of the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) test by simply arguing that the officer is not an expert in conducting this particular test,” says our experienced DUI defense lawyer in Los Angeles. “That because under California law, the arresting police officer must be an expert to present the testimony of the HGN test to the jury.”

The arresting police officer didn’t comply with the 20-minute observation period

One of the most common DUI defenses is rooted in the legal basis of the police officer’s, breath test operator’s, or inspector’s non-compliance with administrative rules.

According to administrative rules of conducting field sobriety tests during DUI stops, a police officer, breath test operator, or inspector must make sure that the person who is being tested has not taken anything by mouth or regurgitated anything for at least 20 minutes prior to taking the breath test, also known as the Breathalyzer.

If the arresting police officer, breath test operator or inspection did not watch you for the required 20-minute observation period before making you blow, your Los Angeles DUI defense attorney will be able to persuade the judge to drop or dismiss the DUI charges based on the legal basis of non-compliance with administrative rules.

Other DUI defenses based on non-compliance with administrative rules

The DUI charges can be dismissed or dropped on the basis of non-compliance with administrative rules if any of the following scenarios is true:

  • The breath test results are not within +/-.20 g/210 L (you are required to blow into the Breathalyzer machine at least twice for the results to be considered admissible)
  • The breath test operator or arresting police officer was not properly trained for the field sobriety test results to be admissible (under California law, a breath test operator must be at least 18 years of age, have a high school diploma, and have successfully completed the breath test operator course)
  • The Breathalyzer machine was not properly maintained (under California law, every Breathalyzer machine must be inspected at least once a month and again annually; the rule applies to both machines in the police stations and mobile units)

Suppression of breath test and blood test results

If the arresting police officer refused to allow you to take an independent blood test, your DUI defense lawyer Los Angeles might be able to persuade the judge to suppress evidence of the breath test.

The same goes for when the arresting police officer takes your blood without your permission. Under California law, for the blood test evidence to be considered admissible, an arresting police officer must prove one of the following:

  • He or he had reasonable cause to believe that the driver was impaired
  • The driver needed to be taken to a hospital or other medical treatment facility
  • Conducting a breath or urine test would be impractical or impossible

Also, if the police lost the video showing your behavior during the DUI stop, your Los Angeles DUI defense attorney will most likely be able to convince the judge to drop or dismiss DUI charges on the basis of violations of the DUI statute. After all, the videos could have been used to exonerate you in court. Contact Okabe & Haushalter to find the most suitable DUI defense strategy for your particular situation. Get a free consultation by calling at 310-430-7799.