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3 potential defense strategies when facing Colorado DUI charges

On Behalf of | Feb 22, 2024 | Drunk Driving Charges |

The most common response to driving under the influence (DUI) charges in Colorado is to simply plead guilty. A large percentage of those accused of impairment at the wheel do not make any meaningful attempt at a defense. Instead, they throw themselves on the mercy of the courts in hopes of securing a lenient sentence through their cooperation.

This approach is often a mistake, as judges can easily hand down the maximum sentence when someone enters a guilty plea. There is no promise of leniency just for cooperating with the state. Even those who know they weren’t drunk when the police pulled them over may worry about whether they can actually defend against the charges they face and may consider pleading guilty. Thankfully, there are multiple defense strategies that can work for people in certain circumstances.

Questioning the traffic stop

Police officers need to have a justification to pull someone over in traffic. Occasionally, defense teams can establish that a police officer did not have a legal justification to stop someone and can ask the courts to toss out any evidence gathered during that illegal traffic stop.

Providing a medical explanation

DUI cases often rely heavily on chemical tests and possibly someone’s performance on a field sobriety test. There are medical explanations other than intoxication that could raise questions about whether someone was really under the influence. For example, someone following a keto diet as part of a medical weight loss plan could fail a breath test because their body has recently metabolized fat. Certain other health issues, like unmanaged diabetes, could also alter breath test results. Medications could also cause false positives. Finally, there are also health issues that could affect someone’s performance on field sobriety tests, such as anxiety.

Questioning state procedures

Even when a traffic stop is legal, officers still have to follow specific standards. Mistakes including failing to calibrate a breath test unit could raise questions about the usefulness of the evidence that the state obtained. Any proof that police officers deviated from current best practices could raise questions about the credibility and usefulness of the state’s evidence.

Discussing what led to someone’s arrest in depth with an attorney and reviewing the state’s evidence could help someone plan the best DUI defense strategy given their circumstances.

Findalaw Network