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Defenses against charges of drunk driving

California drunk driving laws carry tough penalties, as they are designed to keep the roads safe for drivers, passengers and pedestrians. Penalties can include driver's license suspension, fines and jail time. A charge of drunk driving is not proof of guilt, however, and charges can be fought. There are several types of defenses that can be mounted against drunk driving charges.

The most common drunk driving defenses involve mistakes in blood alcohol testing or police procedure. These include challenging the accuracy of test results or the way in which the test was administered. A defense can also make the claim that the driver was sober while driving but that alcohol that was consumed immediately before driving rendered the driver intoxicated by the time of testing. One of the most commonly used defenses against drunk driving charges is that the police did not have just cause to make the stop in the first place.

Affirmative defenses to drunk driving charges are less common. These defenses contend that the driver was either not intoxicated or not responsible for driving while intoxicated, or that there were other circumstances that absolve the driver of responsibility. Examples of this type of defense include driving while under the influence out of necessity to avoid a greater evil, being forced by someone else to drive while intoxicated, entrapment by a police officer or becoming intoxicated without knowledge.

A charge of drunk driving can be fought, and someone who is charged with DUI could contact a criminal defense attorney for guidance and legal representation. An attorney could advise someone on their rights and the possible courses of action that could be taken to fight a drunk driving charge.

Source: FindLaw, "Defenses to Drunk Driving," Accessed March 12, 2015

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