If you have been pulled over and charged with a DUI in Connecticut, you are probably feeling overwhelmed and apprehensive. If this is your first DUI charge in Connecticut, you are likely unfamiliar with the criminal justice process in Connecticut courts. If this is your second, third, or fourth DUI charge, you are likely concerned about the serious penalties that Connecticut courts impose on DUI offenders. Below you will find some of the best defense strategies for combating DUI charges in Connecticut.
Legal Defenses to a Connecticut DUI Charge
Sometimes, the best DUI defense strategy is to use a legal defense. Connecticut courts have developed legal defenses based on common law precedent. In other words, over the years, the courts have determined different legal defenses that are available to all defendants. One of these legal defenses is duress. If someone forced you to drive while under the influence of alcohol, you can use the defense of duress.
Police Misconduct or Constitutional Violations
Law enforcement is bound to adhere to the Constitution when they carry out searches and seizures. The Constitutional guarantees every person the right to a fair and speedy trial. It protects defendants against illegal searches and seizures for evidence.
For example, if a police officer pulled over a defendant without a reasonable suspicion that the driver was intoxicated, a judge might throw out any evidence gathered at the motor vehicle stop because the stop and search were unconstitutional. Most DUI charges happen as a result of a traffic stop, but, in many cases, law enforcement make critical constitutional errors during the stop. Judges are required to suppress evidence that comes from an illegal traffic stop.
Or, if law enforcement did not read you your Miranda rights before arresting you, a court might throw out any evidence gathered as “fruit of the poisonous tree.” For example, without hearing his Miranda rights, a driver might not know that he has a right to hire an attorney for his defense.
At the Red Law Firm, we have helped thousands of clients fight their criminal charges. We have an in-depth knowledge of the common mistakes that law enforcement make. When law enforcement make unconstitutional errors, we know how to use these errors to convince the prosecution to drop the charges, or to convince the judge to dismiss the criminal charge.
The Prosecution Cannot Prove the Defendant’s Guilt
In order to convict a defendant of a DUI in Connecticut, the state prosecutor must prove that the defendant was driving a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The prosecution must prove every element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. One of the most basic elements that a prosecutor must prove is that the defendant was actually driving a motor vehicle.
In many cases, defense lawyers attempt to prove that the defendant was not really driving a vehicle. At the Red Law Firm, we consider all of the following to see whether or not we can make a defense based on our client not actually driving a motor vehicle when the arrest happened:
- The location of the vehicle when law enforcement made the arrest
- Whether or not the keys were in the ignition during the arrest
- Whether or not the vehicle was on and running at the time of the arrest
- Whether or not the vehicle was operable
- Whether or not the defendant was conscious at the time of the arrest
For example, if the defendant was passed out and unconscious when the police officer found him or her, and the car was turned on but parked in a parking lot, the jury might not convict the defendant. If, on the other hand, the driver was stopped at a stoplight while passed out, the jury will likely consider him or her to be operating a motor vehicle.
Challenging the “Under the Influence” Element
Prosecutors must prove that the driver could not safely operate a motor vehicle at the time of the arrest. The inability to drive the motor vehicle must stem from consuming alcohol. A jury must find that the defendant’s ability to drive was negatively affected by alcohol consumption beyond a reasonable doubt.
When a defendant could safely operate a vehicle, the prosecution will have a difficult time proving that the defendant was unable to safely operate the vehicle. For example, when the defendant could drive without weaving, swerving, varying his or her speed, or showing any other signs of impairment, these facts will likely give the jury the reasonable doubt they need.
When law enforcement pulls the defendant over for speeding and charges them with a DUI, the defense often makes this argument. Speeding does not always indicate that the driver was operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol.
Challenge the Test Result
One of the best defenses to a DUI is to challenge the blood or breath test that led to the conviction. Defendants can challenge the administration of a blood, breath, or urine test given by law enforcement. In some cases, law enforcement does not have the proper training to administer these tests. Or, law enforcement might have failed to properly maintain or clean the machine. In other cases, the labs that process the tests make mistakes or incorrectly measure the defendant’s blood-alcohol level. For example, sometimes substances that are already in the machine can become mistaken for alcohol molecules and cause a false test result.
Getting Help for Your Connecticut DUI Defense
Every DUI case is unique. At the Red Law Firm, we evaluate all of the circumstances in our clients’ cases. We develop a unique defense strategy that is tailored to the facts. If you are facing a Connecticut DUI charge, it is important that you speak to an experienced defense lawyer as soon as possible. Contact the Red Law Firm as soon as possible to schedule your initial consultation and learn how we can fight for your rights.