The Philadelphia DUI Law Blog

5 Common Defenses to Drunken Driving

When you are charged with drunken driving in Philadelphia, you may think it's hopeless. After all, it may be your word against the arresting officer's -- not to mention the results of a blood alcohol test.

However, you should take some comfort in knowing that there are some common defenses to drunken driving that actually work.

Keep in mind that when you are defending yourself against a DUI charge, there is a lot at stake including your possible freedom and monetary fines. So even if you think one of these defenses may apply, it's best to work with an experienced DUI attorney when arguing your defense.

  1. Improper Stop. This is one of the most common arguments against a DUI charge. Typically, your attorney will argue that the arresting officer lacked probable cause to make the stop.

  2. Inaccuracy of Field Sobriety Tests. An arrest may be ruled improper if it is based on an improperly administered field sobriety test or inaccurate results. Most frequently, the horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN) test that detects eye movements associated with intoxication can be challenged.

  3. Inaccuracy of the Breathalyzer Test. Attorneys may challenge the administration of a Breathalyzer test by arguing that the device was not properly calibrated, the arresting officer administered it improperly, or that other factors affected the accuracy of the test like vomiting or indigestion.

  4. Chain of Custody. Your lawyer may question whether your blood test was tampered with. or whether it is even yours. Authorities must follow specific steps and establish a "chain of custody" when handling your blood test to ensure its reliability. Any break in the chain could throw the charges against you into doubt.

  5. Improper Police Actions. This defense can include questioning whether the police violated your civil rights such as targeting you based on the color of your skin, faked a DUI report, or otherwise acted improperly.

Related Resources: