Memphis DUI lawyer Patrick Stegall looks at how to go from “You have the right to remain silent” to “Not Guilty.”
The answer to the question above, basically, is maybe…and it depends.
Criminal cases are all about evidence. How much does the government have, and how strong is it. A case with a large amount of strong evidence has a better chance of ending in a conviction than one with mostly weak evidence. Of course perceptions can vary as to what constitutes strong and weak evidence.
DUI cases are largely made up of opinion evidence, scientific evidence, or both. Opinion evidence is when the police officer writes in the report that you were drunk, based on your general appearance. That report will state that you were unsteady on your feet, had bloodshot, watery eyes, slurred speech, and a strong odor of alcohol about you. Now is that absolute proof that you were drunk? Of course not! It’s one person’s opinion. We might agree that, based on our own observations and experiences, this kind of appearance generally comes from someone who has had too much to drink. But it is not proof beyond a reasonable doubt, and that is the standard in the courtroom.
So how can this sort of opinion proof be refuted? If you were videotaped performing field sobriety tests, and you look good, that will help a lot. “Look good” means you aren’t stumbling, that you understand what the officer is saying, and you’re speaking clearly. However, if your appearance does correlate with what the officer is saying, or if a videotape is not available, you have to dig deeper. Is there a medical condition present? Did you recently have any surgery or injuries that could affect you physically? What type of shoes were you wearing? These are just some of the kinds of questions that a Memphis DUI lawyer will ask.
Investigating all aspects of a DUI arrest
Scientific evidence involves the analysis of blood or breath samples for alcoholic content. You may be aware that in Tennessee, a blood alcohol content of .08% or more is a legal presumption of intoxication. How do you challenge a high BAC, say .15% or even .20% and more, when it seems that everyone has presumed you’re guilty?
You use science. Your lawyer needs to break down the breathalyzer or blood test results to see if it was done properly. Was the alcohol properly and validly separated out in your sample? If blood, was it handled and analyzed properly? If a breathalyzer was used, when was the last time it was calibrated? What do its maintenance records show? Was it operated according to the manufacturers specifications? An experienced Memphis DUI attorney will look at these and many other issues.
Each case is different, and I can’t guarantee a particular result. But in answering the question “Can I beat my DUI?” start by talking to experienced, dedicated Memphis DUI lawyers. See what options and strategies might be available based on your specific facts. And remember—if you plead guilty you give yourself no chance at all. But if you investigate and fight, you might be surprised with what you find!
Contact DUI Attorney Patrick Stegall today for more information about your case.