What Types of Evidence Are Used in a DUI Case?

Posted: August 15, 2023 at 12:00 am

Are you facing a DUI case in Kansas? Various types of evidence can be used against you, but competent DUI attorneys will know how to counter this evidence and bring other evidence to bear on your behalf. The evidence available will shape your defense strategy, of course, and your Olathe, KS DUI lawyer can give you specific guidance in your case.

What Types of Evidence Will Be Used in an Olathe, KS DUI Case?

Chemical Test Results

One of the most common, and most important, bits of evidence presented in DUI cases is the result of any chemical test you were given. Kansas, like many states, uses the “implied consent” law. When you operate a motor vehicle, you’re giving your tacit consent to undergo chemical testing if suspected of DUI. Refusal can lead to automatic license suspension. Blood tests and breath tests are the primary methods. Breathalyzers measure the concentration of alcohol in one’s breath, while blood tests directly determine the blood alcohol concentration (BAC). In Kansas, if your BAC is 0.08% or higher, you’re considered legally impaired. If you’re under 21, the BAC limit is only 0.02%.

Countering This Evidence

The way chemical tests are administered and the maintenance of testing equipment are crucial. If the tests are not administered correctly or if the equipment is not regularly calibrated and maintained, their results might be deemed unreliable. DUI attorneys often request calibration records and maintenance logs for breathalyzers or scrutinize the exact method by which blood samples were collected and tested to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Field Sobriety Test Results

Before administering chemical tests, officers typically start with field sobriety tests. These are physical and cognitive tasks given to assess a driver’s impairment. Examples include the horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN) (where an officer checks for involuntary jerking of the eyes), the walk-and-turn, and the one-leg stand. Performance on these tests can indicate impairment, though they are subjective and can be influenced by various factors.

Countering This Evidence

Given the subjective nature of field sobriety tests, attorneys can argue that external factors, such as weather, footwear, or road conditions, affected the driver’s performance. Additionally, any inherent physical limitations or medical conditions of the defendant might negatively affect the results of these tests and can be presented to counter this evidence.

Officer Observations and Testimonies

An arresting officer’s observations play a vital role in DUI cases. Their testimony regarding the behavior, appearance, and actions of the accused can be compelling. Indicators such as slurred speech, the smell of alcohol, bloodshot eyes, and erratic driving can be used to suggest impairment. Moreover, any statements or admissions made by the driver at the scene can be brought up during the trial.

Countering This Evidence

The defense can challenge the arresting officer’s credibility or memory, and it can sometimes be argued that the officer’s observations were subjective or influenced by bias. The defense may also be able to present evidence that contradicts the officer’s testimony.

Dashcam and Bodycam Footage

Technological advancements have equipped law enforcement with tools like dashboard cameras and body cameras. This footage can show the accused’s driving pattern, interaction with the officer, and performance during field sobriety tests. The clarity of such recordings often offers an unambiguous view of events, making them significant evidence.

Countering This Evidence

While footage can be damning at times, it can also be a tool for the defense. An attorney might be able to highlight moments in the footage that contradict the officer’s account or show that the driver’s rights were violated during the arrest.

Witness Testimonies

Sometimes, third-party witnesses can be crucial. Bystanders, other drivers, or passengers might provide testimonies regarding the accused’s behavior or driving: or they might be able to testify for the accused if they witnessed improper behavior on the part of the police during the incident. Such independent accounts can either bolster the prosecution’s case or assist the defense, if they contradict the officer’s observations.

Countering This Evidence

Defense attorneys can cross-examine witnesses to test their credibility, consistency, and recollection. They can also present other witnesses whose accounts differ or suggest that the original witness had a poor vantage point or other reasons to be unreliable.

Accident Reports

In situations where a DUI leads to an accident, the subsequent accident report becomes a pivotal piece of evidence. This document may detail how the accident occurred, any damages, and potential causes, all of which can point toward or against the driver’s impairment.

Countering This Evidence

By dissecting the accident report, a defense attorney can pinpoint inconsistencies or errors. They might also introduce expert witnesses, like accident reconstruction specialists, to provide alternative explanations for the crash that don’t involve the defendant’s impairment.

Medical Records and Prescriptions

In certain DUI cases, medical records and prescriptions can become significant. Drivers might have medications or medical conditions that could affect their driving or mimic signs of impairment. For instance, certain medicines might cause dizziness, drowsiness, or other side effects similar to alcohol impairment. Providing this evidence can be an effective way to challenge the prosecution’s case, especially if chemical tests are absent or inconclusive and an individual’s supposed “impairment” might be attributed to a medical condition or prescription rather than alcohol or drug consumption.

Prior Convictions or Lack Thereof

A driver’s history can also come into play. Prior DUI convictions might be used to establish a pattern or to intensify the severity of the current charges. Conversely, a lack of previous convictions or a clean driving record can sometimes be presented to suggest that the current incident is an anomaly or out of character for the driver.

Using This Evidence

A clean record can be emphasized to suggest that the incident was out of character. If there are prior convictions, the defense can argue that past mistakes do not automatically make someone guilty in the present case.

Receipts and Transaction Records

Sometimes, receipts or transaction records from establishments where the accused consumed alcohol can be introduced. These documents might indicate the amount of alcohol purchased, which can either substantiate or refute the level of intoxication alleged by the prosecution. For instance, if someone is accused of being heavily intoxicated, but their receipt from a bar shows only one drink purchased hours before the arrest, this could be used to challenge the intoxication claim.

Preserve Your Rights With DUI Attorneys in Olathe, KS

If you or a loved one is facing a DUI charge in Kansas, understanding the evidence types is only one step. It’s equally vital to ensure your rights are protected, and that starts with getting good legal help. With dedicated legal counsel, you can face your charges with confidence. If you or someone you know is navigating these waters, remember, knowledgeable guidance is paramount. Contact us at Henderson Legal Defense, LLC, and we can guide you every step of the way. We’re committed to protecting your rights and providing you with a robust defense.