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Fighting drunk driving charges in California

Motorists in California convicted of drunk driving may face severe penalties, and even first time offenders may face jail time in certain situations. However, proving such charges beyond any reasonable doubt can sometimes be challenging for prosecutors, and criminal defense attorneys may closely scrutinize police accounts of the events and the manner in which intoxication has been established when advocating on behalf of a motorist who has been accused of driving drunk.

In certain situations, an attorney will not dispute that the driver in question had been driving while impaired, and they may mount what is referred to as an affirmative defense. This strategy could be pursued in a DUI case if the accused drunk driver had been unaware that they had been consuming alcohol, were coerced into getting behind the wheel or entrapped into committing the offense by a police officer.

Prosecutors rely heavily on the statements of police officers and the results of field sobriety and toxicology tests when pursuing a DUI case, and a defense attorney may challenge the validity of this type of evidence. Law enforcement officers may only pull a vehicle over if they have a valid reason for doing so, and drunk driving charges may be dismissed if the officers involved are not able to establish probable cause for the initial traffic stop. Field sobriety, breath and blood test results could also be questioned by an attorney if strict procedures were not followed or the accused individual suffers from certain medical conditions.

The consequences of a drunk driving conviction often go beyond fines, jail time and probation. Those found guilty of such charges often face large increases in their auto insurance premiums, and they may also find it difficult secure employment if a DUI conviction is discovered during routine background checks. A criminal defense attorney may advocate vigorously on behalf of an individual charged with drunk driving even when the evidence against them seems compelling.

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