Aggressive Los Angeles DUI Attorney

Defenses to DUI Charges & DUI Checkpoints

At Moaddel Law Firm, we know every case is different. We examine each case for the unique facts that can undermine the prosecution’s evidence against you. However, there are some common defenses to DUI charges that come up frequently.

As your Los Angeles DUI defense lawyer, it is our job to find the defense(s) with which to counter the charges made against you. Moaddel Law Firm has successfully challenged countless criminal accusations against our clients over the years because we have a thoroughgoing understand of California criminal law. You can trust us to prioritize your needs and fight hard to obtain the best outcome possible.

Did law enforcement have Probable Cause to stop you?

If the police officer did not have probable cause to arrest you, any evidence obtained as a result of the illegal arrest cannot be used against you at trial, including blood test results. A successful challenge to the probable cause for arrest can often lead to the District Attorney dismissing, or significantly reducing, the charges against you because the prosecutors don’t believe they can win their case without the blood test results.

Faulty Equipment

Almost all DUI cases involve machines: either Breathalyzer machines or blood test machines. If these machines are not properly calibrated and maintained they can give erroneous readings, resulting in false positives. Your Los Angeles criminal defense attorney can obtain the maintenance logs for these machines to determine if they were functioning properly at the time of your arrest.

Poor Driving vs. Intoxicated Driving

Prosecutors and police officers often support their case with subjective determinations that you were driving poorly or erratically, such as:

  • Speeding
  • Frequently changing lanes
  • Weaving within a lane

The arresting officer will testify that, in his experience, your driving was “consistent with” the driving of someone who was under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

However, driving poorly is also consistent with simply being a poor or distracted driver. Statistically, more traffic violations are committed by sober people than intoxicated people, making poor driving a poor predictor of intoxicated driving. Additionally, you may have driven safely in other ways, such as staying within the speed limit, properly signaling lane changes, and pulling over as directed by police.

The Field Sobriety Tests (FST) Trap

After stopping you, the arresting officer likely had you perform field sobriety tests (FSTs). These include the walk and turn test, the one leg stand, and the nystagmus test. Regardless of how you perform, the officer will likely conclude that you performed poorly as a result of intoxication.

Your DUI attorney in Los Angeles can challenge this assessment by showing how your balance and coordination, nerves, fatigue, clothing and shoes, and other factors affect your performance on the FSTs. Your attorney can also challenge the conditions under which you took the tests, such as whether the sidewalk was uneven or wet or whether there was poor weather like rain or wind. Additionally, your lawyer can challenge the officer’s training and experience giving FSTs, as well as his administration of your FSTs.

Mouth Alcohol

Breath alcohol tests, including the Breathalyzer, measure alcohol in your mouth, as well as your breath. The test is designed to measure alcohol from air deep in your lungs; however, that air passes through your mouth before reaching the machine, and mixes with any alcohol in your mouth. For that reason, officers are required to observe a driver for 15 continuous minutes before administering a breath test. Otherwise, the test can pick up alcohol from medicine, mouth wash, or drinks you used after driving but before taking the test.

Additionally, burping or regurgitating can bring alcohol from your stomach into your mouth, known as “residual mouth alcohol.” This can also lead to an inflated BAC reading.

Medical conditions are not grounds for DUI charges!

Certain medical conditions can cause you to drive poorly, leading to a traffic stop. Additionally, medical conditions can impair you performance on FST, mimic the symptoms of intoxication, or inflate your BAC results.

For example, diabetes, fasting, and low carbohydrate diets cause your body to break down stored fats. This results in a byproduct called ketones, which are chemically similar to isopropyl alcohol but do not cause intoxication. Unfortunately, breath test devices don’t reliably distinguish between this alcohol and ethyl alcohol, the alcohol in beverages that causes intoxication.

Additionally, many medical conditions can cause you to perform poorly on FSTs. For instance, inner ear conditions can impair balance, leading to poor performance on FSTs that measure your balance.

Officers Must Comply with Title 17

Title 17 of California Code of Regulations has strict rules for the administration of blood and breath tests. If the officer does not comply with those rules, your sample may be tainted and the results unreliable. Requirements include the 15 minute observation period before administering tests, proper training on conducting the tests, proper administration of the test, and proper collection, handling, and storage of samples.[1]

Rising Blood Alcohol

Driving after having a drink is not illegal; driving while intoxicated or with a BAC over .08% is illegal. “Rising blood alcohol” refers to the fact that your BAC progressively rises after you have a drink until it reaches the maximum level—usually within an hour, depending on the person—and then begins to decline. If your blood alcohol was still rising when you were pulled over, the results from the chemical test would show a high BAC than the BAC you had when you were driving.

Failure to Follow Proper Police Procedure

As noted above, officers have certain procedures they must follow during a DUI investigation, including following Title 17 and having probable cause for the stop, investigation, and arrest. Officers also must advise you of your Miranda rights prior to questioning you. If the officers failed to follow the proper police procedure during their investigation and arrest, your attorney may be able to exclude the evidence they obtained from their investigation. Without this evidence, it is exceedingly difficult for the prosecutor to convict you, leading to possible dismissal or reduction of the charges.

Arrested? You need a seasoned Los Angeles DUI attorney!

The attorneys at Moaddel Law Firm are experienced in raising these common defenses for charges resulting from DUI stops and DUI checkpoints in Los Angeles. However, our attorneys don’t stop there, and can comb the records in your case for any uncommon defenses that can prevent the prosecution from obtaining a conviction.

Call our firm today to begin your legal defense—(877) 375-8188!

[1] Title 17 of CR § 1215-1221.