Defending Against DUI Charges: Essential Strategies for Success

Posted: February 15, 2024 at 12:00 am

Facing a DUI arrest in Kansas brings up some immediate concerns about your freedom, license, and future. The state’s harsh penalties for these offenses can upend your job prospects, financial well-being, and even your personal relationships. The good news is that a skilled Lenexa, KS and Shawnee, KS DUI defense lawyer knows a number of strategies that frequently succeed in exposing weaknesses in the evidence, leading to better outcomes for their clients. The choices you make early in your case, including hiring the right lawyer, are going to have a profound impact on the final resolution of your case.

Important Success Strategies for Your Shawnee, KS or Lenexa, KS DUI Case

Get Started Right Away

When you’re facing DUI charges, every minute matters. The sooner you secure legal representation, the quicker your attorneys can intervene, potentially preserving valuable evidence before it’s lost and developing initial defense strategies. We may even be able to stop you from accidentally saying or doing something that can make things worse. It’s just always true that an early start creates an advantage.

Here are some strategies for defense that we may explore, depending on your unique circumstances:

Was the Stop Legal?

Police officers in Kansas cannot simply pull over any vehicle on a whim. The law permits traffic stops only when they have “reasonable suspicion” that a driver is violating a traffic law or that criminal activity is underway, so one possible strategy is to challenge the stop. An unlawful stop means any evidence gathered from that stop, including breathalyzer tests, field sobriety evaluations, and any statements you may have made, could be suppressed. Your DUI defense lawyer will consider questions like:

What Was the Initial Reason?

Did the officer have a legitimate basis for the stop? Minor traffic infractions sometimes get exaggerated as a pretext to justify an investigation into potential intoxication, particularly late at night when DUI arrests are more common.

Was the Scope and Duration of the Stop Valid?

Even if the original reason for the stop was valid, police are limited in how long they can detain you and the extent of any questioning or searches conducted before establishing probable cause for an arrest.

Any violation of your rights we can turn up at this stage will be very helpful.

Challenging Test Results

Breathalyzer machines are often presented as irrefutable proof of intoxication, but that’s not always the case. Your attorney will look carefully at things like the calibration records, maintenance logs, and even whether the administering officer followed strict procedural guidelines during the test. Errors in any of these areas can call the results into question.

Field sobriety tests, such as the walk-and-turn or the one-leg stand, are notoriously subjective. Your attorney will examine whether the instructions were given correctly and if any external factors, such as injuries or medical conditions, might have influenced your performance. Even these seemingly simple tests can be impacted by things like being asked to walk over an uneven surface, confusing instructions, or simply the stress of the situation itself.

Contesting Other Evidence

Eyewitness accounts from civilians or other officers can often be unreliable, too. Factors like poor lighting conditions, limited visibility, and the inherent stress of a traffic stop can distort behavior and perceptions. Video footage, such as dashcam recordings, might provide alternative perspectives and could even support your defense strategy by revealing inconsistencies or problems with an officer’s version of events.

Highlighting Medical Factors

Certain medical conditions and prescription medications can sometimes mimic the outward signs of intoxication or lead to false positives on breathalyzer tests. Conditions ranging from acid reflux to diabetes or even specific diets can skew the analysis of breath samples: people in ketosis can sometimes fail breathalyzer tests even if they haven’t had a drop to drink.

Exploring these potential avenues of defense requires knowledge of both DUI law and the potential interplay between human physiology and your test results. Your attorney will work with you to gather medical records and may consult experts to determine if any existing conditions you have could explain some outward signs of impairment that a police officer is noting or contribute to test results that didn’t accurately reflect your actual blood alcohol level.

Even some common over-the-counter or prescription drugs can sometimes flag a false positive on a breathalyzer analysis. A skilled lawyer will investigate any medications you’re taking to see if they could have interfered with the accuracy of the state’s testing procedures.

Emphasizing Police Officer Procedural Errors

Police must follow protocols. Deviations from these protocols can sometimes provide grounds for challenging the entire case against you. Here are some areas where mistakes happen:

Observation Period Skips

Before administering a breathalyzer test, officers are required to observe a suspect for a specific duration to ensure there’s no consumption of food, drink, or other substances which might contaminate the sample. Violations here can invalidate the results.

Miranda Rights Misses

You should always be given Miranda warnings prior to being questioned, though the police don’t have to give you a warning before giving you a sobriety test or simply arresting you. You must be told about your right to remain silent and have an attorney, if you are under arrest and being questioned, so we’ll take a look to make sure that happened. Any statements made in violation of your right to remain silent might be inadmissible.

Challenging Witness Credibility

Police officers are important in DUI prosecutions, and the court often relies heavily on their written reports about a traffic stop and their testimony in court. Your defense attorney will carefully dissect these accounts to pinpoint inconsistencies, expose potential bias, or undermine the officer’s credibility overall. Police reports, dashcam footage, and court testimony can potentially contradict each other, so we look for discrepancies that cast doubt on the officer’s recollections and version of events.

Police narratives sometimes focus on the most alarming details to support an arrest, naturally, so we may argue that the officer’s observations were subjective and emphasize some of the exculpatory (or potentially mitigating) factors that may b absent from the officer’s report. Officers, like anyone, are susceptible to forming biases or assumptions. This can affect everything from their reason for initiating the traffic stop to how they interact with a suspect. We’ll look for any potential in this line of defense, as well.

A Personalized Defense By Your DUI Defense Lawyer in Lenexa, KA and Shawnee, KS Is Key

Each DUI case presents unique circumstances and there is no “one-size-fits-all” defense strategy. At Henderson Legal Defense, LLC, we will carefully examine the specifics of your arrest, including the details of the traffic stop, the results of any testing, and the police officer’s observations leading up to your apprehension. Based on this thorough analysis, we build a defense for your situation, designed to expose weaknesses in the state’s case and secure the best possible outcome.

The fight against a DUI charge in Kansas is a team effort, too, and we value open and honest communication at every stage. Your participation in building your defense matters, so we’ll work closely with you to understand the events as you experienced them.

We’re Ready to Help

A DUI arrest understandably causes stress and anxiety, but you don’t have to face this alone. Contact us now at Henderson Legal Defense, LLC and let us stand with you.