If the state of South Carolina charged you with drunk driving, you have a few different defense options. Though in rare circumstances individuals successfully defend themselves with an affirmative defense, a more common defense involves challenging the integrity of the evidence or attacking the arresting officer’s observations of what happened prior to the arrest. Though you should consult with a lawyer, FindLaw details a few of the more effective DUI defense options.
It is not uncommon for defendants in DUI cases to challenge the integrity of the evidence, as doing so often works. For instance, if the arresting officer improperly administered the field sobriety test, the courts may have no choice but to rule the findings inaccurate. A lawyer may also question the results of the breathalyzer test. Did the officer administer the test correctly? Did intervening factors exist, such as indigestion or vomiting? Was the test poorly calibrated?
Another defense lawyers use is to question the handling of a blood test. Did someone tamper with it, or was it lost at any point during the chain of custody? The defense may also claim that the defendant’s blood alcohol content was below the legal limit at the time of the stop but increased between the time of the stop and the administration of the breath test.
Though the above defenses do work, one of the strongest defenses to a DUI charge is to challenge the initial traffic stop. If the officer lacked probable cause to stop you, the charges and any evidence against you cannot hold up in court.
There are affirmative defenses to DUI. For instance, you may claim that you had to drive while intoxicated because your safety was at risk. You may also claim that someone forced or threatened you to drive while under the influence of alcohol.
If you can prove someone forced you to ingest alcohol against your will and without your knowledge, the judge may drop the charges. Also, if you can show that the arresting officer somehow encouraged you to become intoxicated or to drive while intoxicated, you may be able to claim entrapment.
This article is not meant to serve as legal advice. It is for educational purposes only.