What You Should Know About Drunk Driving Defenses

by clarklawoffice on June 24, 2013

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(Michigan law and generally) Penalties for drunk driving can be quite severe however; there is a way out if you are able to mount a convincing defense. If you are arrested for driving while intoxicated or driving under the influence and want to fight it out in court you need to understand all the drunk driving defenses that are commonly used in such cases. Presenting a viable argument might be able to persuade the prosecution to reduce the charges or drop them all together. You may also escape having your driver’s license suspended or even get acquitted after a trial.

During a drunk driving case the prosecution have to prove two basic things; first that the defendant drove the vehicle and secondly the defendant was under the influence. This means that the person’s ability to drive safely was affected to a certain extent by the alcohol.  A viable defense in drunken driving cases refers to any argument that proves one of the two basic elements stipulated above wrong. This prevents the prosecutor from proving his/her case. A credible defense is likely to prevent the prosecution from introducing evidence; this reduces the ability of the prosecution from proving its case. There are several defenses that can be presented depending on the area or state where the arrest took place. The following are some of the drunk driving defenses that are available to you:

Driving Defenses
This applies if you were not actually driving when the alleged offense took place, in such instances you cannot be convicted of drunk driving. Ordinarily drunk driving cases begin when a driver gets pulled over. In such cases there is little room for argument about whether the defendant (you) was actually driving. If the police officer did not observe you driving (the officer approached your stationery car while you were behind the wheel in a parking lot) then the issue is debatable depending on the evidence.

Defenses About the Arrest
If the officer did not have a legal justification to pull you over and or arrest you or if the police officer did not follow legal procedures during the arrest then you might get off the hook. Additionally you can use such loopholes to have the evidence gathered from traffic to arrest or stop you to be deemed inadmissible, this means that the evidence is kept out of court. This approach often leaves the prosecution with no real case since the arresting officer’s testimony and breathalyzer results cannot be used against you as evidence. As a result the drunken driving charges against you are likely to be dismissed.

No Probable Cause For Arrest
If you believe that you were not stopped, detained or arrested for drunk driving but for any other reason you are highly likely to keep the evidence obtained during the arrest from being admitted during the trial. This is one of the common defenses that are available for people who believe that they could have been pulled over due to their ethnicity, race or religion.

No Miranda Warnings
This is one of the common drunk driving defenses. A police officer must read your Miranda rights as part of the arresting process. The Miranda warnings includes the right to remain silent and that anything you say may be used against you as well as the right to an attorney. If the arresting officer failed to read the Miranda warnings or recited them incorrectly you get a chance to have some evidence excluded during the trial.

For more information about the drunk driving laws in the state of Michigan, please visit theclarklawoffice.com/practice-areas/criminal-law/drunk-driving.html



Lead Attorney and Founder at The Clark Law Office
David M. Clark is the lead attorney and founder of The Clark Law Office, a law firm located in Lansing, Michigan.

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